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Love is Love: Here are some of the best LGBT OTT content from this year that show good representation of the community.
In the past, the LGBTQIA+ community on screen has been either non-existent or has mostly been shown in a negative light. Mainstream media has been transphobic and homophobic, using the community for cheap laughs most of the time.
But even with increased awareness, most mainstream cinema still churns out regressive representation like in Laxmii and Pati Patni Aur Panga, further reinforcing negative stereotypes which causes harm to the community and uses them as props to elicit humour. It is good to see some change in the audience though, as so many of these are being called out for their homophobic and transphobic nature, and more sensitive content is being made. With cinema going digital and the increase of OTT platforms due to the pandemic, filmmakers can also reach a wider audience while experimenting with their stories. Short films, anthologies and web series have become a director’s favourite.
Here are 18 recent films and series on OTT platforms with well portrayed LGBT characters, even while these films have some problematic aspects.
Ajeeb Daastaans is an anthology of four women-centric films. Geeli Puchi, the third anthology, is a Dalit lesbian who tries to survive in a casteist and patriarchal world. Although a cis-het actress has been cast for the role, the film portrays the different forms of marginalization fittingly.
It is currently streaming on Netflix.
Sheer Qorma is an upcoming Urdu film based on the relationship between an India-Pakistan same-sex couple. The film, which was postponed due to the pandemic, will be released soon.
Who doesn’t like a sweet story of a budding friendship between a gay man and a lesbian, and a road trip which brings them close to each other and their loves? The film has its flaws where the leads try to ‘settle down’ for the parents and the society, and it is worth a watch.
It is currently streaming on Disney Hotstar.
The Married Woman is a drama series based on a book by the same name. It is the love story of two married women set in the 90s during the Babri Masjid demolition. The series has eleven 30 minutes episodes which are perfect for a weekend binge-watch session.
It is currently streaming on ALTBalaji and Zee5.
This ALT Balaji series is a coming out of a closeted gay married man and its implications on his family and lover. This short series is perfect for a rainy weekend. So don’t forget to carry your tissues.
Who can forget the hype created by this amazing series of four upper-class women and their friendship? Well, the series has its flaws, but the character of Umang is not one of them. This remarkably written character who just came out of the closet? Season 2 of the series picks up her story as she navigates through her sexual identity while standing up for herself.
It is currently streaming on Prime Video.
While Bollywood continues to cast cis-het people in LGBTQIA+ roles, Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan was one of the few mainstream Bollywood films which showed gay men in a positive light and featured a kiss scene. This romantic comedy manages to show the struggle of gay couples and their families.
Filter Gold is the first of its kind film, which features three transgender people playing the lead role. This Tamizh film is a thriller that portrays the harsh truth of society.
Although this coming-of-age series revolves around a heterosexual love story, it has a few notable LGBTQIA+ characters who deeply impact the story. It explores the teenage years of a queer person and their struggles while living in a small town.
This coming-of-age series of an Indian American girl is breaking South Asian and LGBTQIA+ stereotypes. We see Fabiona’s struggle and her coming to terms with her sexuality and finally admitting it to herself and her family.
Churails is a Pakistani web series that is making huge waves in the desi queer cinema. The show revolves around women who come from diverse backgrounds, one of them being from the LGBTQIA+ community. It doesn’t just have a token representation but dives into the minute nuances of the community. It is a refreshing take on South Asian, Pakistani women.
It is currently streaming on Zee5.
An adaptation of a 1994 novel revolves around a young Tamizh boy in Sri Lanka struggling with his sexual orientation against the backdrop of the tensions between the Tamizh and Sinhalese people. Funny Boy illustrates the link between the personal and political, making it an eye-opening watch.
Paava Kadhaigal is an anthology revolving around the theme of honour. Thangam, a segment of the anthology, showcases the struggle of Sathaar, a transwoman living in the ’80s. It deals with the rarely portrayed unrequited love of a transwoman, and the character is played by a cis-het actor, which seems to a norm in LGTQIA+ films.
A story of a Malayali boy who comes out of the closet to his family before his marriage. The film beautifully portrays an orthodox family that is forced to choose between their son and society. This Malayalam film is also a beautiful depiction of traditional Malayali families.
A drama that revolves around the romance of a gay couple with one being a sex worker and how the couple works through it. It has an interesting take on sex work and homosexuality.
A sociopolitical drama revolving around Vilom, a young man confused about his identity as he tries to navigate his relationships with his roommate and friend. This love triangle forces him to confront himself and his needs.
Aarya is a series based on a single mom whose life is entangled in her family’s bloody business. ACP Khan, who plays a reoccurring role in this series, is a Muslim gay man. This series normalizes gay characters. This is a welcome change in the industry that only uses homosexuality as a shock value or humour.
Paatal Lok has done one thing right, a Manipuri transwoman actor playing a Manipuri transwoman character. Paatal Lok is a power-packed series that deals with many issues the mainstream media avoids. This thriller series keeps you on your toes.
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Divya is a catmom, a hodophile and an intersectional feminist with a Master’s degree
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