Gay is suddenly the buzzword. And nobody is shying away from saying it loud and clear. Producer Karan Johar and director Tarun Mansukhani can take a bow. Bollywood men, while they have always played footsie with blurring the gender lines - every superstar has at least one cross-dressing scene - have rarely crossed the lakshman-rekha. Dostana, in the mainstream entertainment space is a giant leap that just about stops short. Films such as My Brother Nikhil or Fire (if you were to include lesbians) have tread that path before but were perceived as movies for a niche audience. Not quite so with Dostana which has got off to a good start what with everyone headed for a dekko at John's derriere and of course, the liplock (implied of course)!. What's interesting is also the debate it has sparked off on gays and lesbians. Director Tarun Mansukhani said that they had tried to convey the idea of homosexuality as an acceptable choice in a manner that was funny and not preachy. "Youngsters often respond better to an idea that's not conveyed from a pulpit and therefore the story is told in a funny vein."
Some are of the opinion that by resorting to stereotypical gay representation, the film does the community great disservice. However, the fact that it is a mainstream film with two mainstream heroes taking the plunge to the extent of even showing a prolonged smooch and courtship should have the pink brigade cheering. Add to that the acceptance of this relationship by Kirron Kher, who plays Abhishek's mother in the film, in keeping with Dharma Productions philosophy, it's all about loving your family.
As per the buzz, producer Karan Johar has made a neat over-the-table profit. Going by the response to the film, the distributors should also be satisfied. What will emerge over the next few days will be interesting - is the movie as acceptable in small towns as it is in the urban centres? If yes, then this could well be another sign that things are a changing. And yes, the government may please consider doing away with the archaic Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, known as the "Anti-Sodomy Law".
Story first published: Thursday, November 20, 2008, 3:20 [IST]