Bollywood is having its “Brokeback Mountain” moment.
India’s first mainstream film to feature a gay kiss premiered in theaters this past Monday.
“Dunno Y… Na Jaane Kyun (Don’t Know Why),” with its promo poster depicting a pair of scantily clad men in a steamy clutch, has generated plenty of global buzz. But debut director Sanjay Sharma told BBC Asian Network that he was confident the film will pass India’s censors. “I’m not thinking about any political or censor problems,” he said.
Heralded as a long overdue moment in a historically conservative industry, “Dunno Y” stars Kapil Sharma as an aspiring model who moves to Mumbai to further his career. He meets a married Bollywood star played by Aryan Vaid, sparks fly, and the two men soon begin an intimate relationship. The men are shown kissing naked in a bathtub.`
Although Bollywood is the site of the world’s most prolific film industry, even heterosexual kissing was an on-screen risk until recently. “Love, Sex … and Dhokha,” released in March, generated media controversy for its explicit depiction of heterosexual sex. The film’s most graphic scenes were spliced by censors before airing.
“Dunno Y… Na Jaane Kyun” reflects a trajectory of increasingly racier content in Bollywood. The film’s portrayal of a serious gay relationship is evidence of India’s changing taboos. Last July, the High Court of Delhi ruled to amend an Indian law that criminalized homosexuality and made it punishable by up to 10 years in prison.