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CIA 1 MEDIA AND GENDER PORTRAYAL OF EMOTIONAL COMPLEXITIES OF LGBT COMMUNITY IN INDIAN CINEMA

CIA 1

MEDIA AND GENDER

PORTRAYAL OF EMOTIONAL COMPLEXITIES OF LGBT COMMUNITY IN INDIAN CINEMA

Submitted to: Dr Pradeep Thomas Submitted by: Pranjal Singh Rathore Reg. No.- 1734146 Class: 5MEP

INTRODUCTION Cinema allied to the other forms of art is a part of social realism in order to bring about social changes. It is considered as the most influential tool which in fact has a strong impact on society and its way of thinking. The society forms various mindsets, ideas and ideologies about gender and identities through the medium of films hence creating the gigantic gender stereotypes in the films resulting in the distortion of gender roles. These stereotypes get congested and narrowed in the mind of the viewers. The term LGBT is a term that denotes various sexual identities that includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, non-heterosexual and cis-gender. The society has considered the LGBT community as marginalised from the very beginning. Their identities have been questioned making it important for them to get the attention and approval from the society. The community faces a struggle in their daily life from negligence to injustice. Their constant struggle to acquire a space in the society where gender bohemianism is not being bugged as strange, they are looked upon as sexual minorities which are usually used to play the roles that are weird and eccentric. Even after all the struggles, being impugned, alienated, denounced and criminalized for generations, the sexual minorities are now stepping out from the shade of obscurity. India is the country, where cinema plays a powerful role in forming the opinion of the viewers, it portrays the LGBT community in a sensible manner, will certainly create a positive and piercing impact on the mindsets and psyche of the audience and from the past few years we can see the LGBT community sharing the space, they have been represented in a realistic and sensible manner that has certainly helped in creating a positive and piercing impact on the mindsets and psyche of the viewers. Despite this immense power that the Indian cinema holds in influencing the people whether the viewers are willing to accept the idea or not is one of the main limitations. The community in Queer Indian Cinema has always faced objectification and have been the victims of satire and

taunts. In almost every Indian films, homosexuals have been depicted or are given some comic characters OR are treated in an offensive manner. However, some movies have interpreted the emotional complexities of the LGBT community in a sensitive manner and have highlighted the community’s sensitive manner and have captured their journey with the struggle for identity. The emotional complexities can be classified into two: External and Internal. External Complexities refer to the ones that arise due to society and environment they have been living in. For instance, alienation, extra-marital affair, mocking and taunting and lack of acceptance. Internal factors cover psychological dilemmas like loneliness and depression. The twentieth century witnessed the rise of queer theme and identity crisis in the mainstream media. Filmmakers started to come out with the movies revolving around homosexuality.

LITERATURE REVIEW The following research papers and articles talk about how emotional intricacies of the LGBT community are portrayed in Indian Cinema. The research papers and articles used here are as follows:

Mabokela Sedibu Evelyn (2015). THE VIEWERS’ PERCEPTION ON THE PORTRAYAL OF GAYS AND LESBIANS IN SELECTED TELEVISION PROGRAMMES analyzed that even though there is wide visibility of homosexuals in mainstream media, they are not represented in a convincing manner and their representation is not yet fully constructed. Negative depictions of these characters have more impact and piercing effect on the audience’s minds and thought process than a positive portrayal. Pushpinder Kaur (2017). Gender, Sexuality and (Be) longing: The Representation of Queer (LGBT) in Hindi Cinema throws light on the the LGBT community of India who is in search of their true identity and positive representation. There exist some directors in Bollywood who are willing to tackle the issues of the LGBT people, but there are so many things that still remain obscure.

Pushpinder Kaur(2017) Queer Hindi Cinema: A Study on Understanding LGBT Identity talks about bringing the queer community and their issues to the audience, it also provides a wider reach and attention towards problems. Even though mainstream cinema has opened up to the idea of accepting and discussing homosexuality, the mainstream Bollywood cinema has not always been successful in portraying the emotional rollercoaster of the community. Anee Bhattacharyya (2016) The Variation in the Depiction of Queer Sexuality in India and the Question of Social Change depicts the LGBT community as that social group who are alienated and marginalized and ones who are forced to live a segregated life. Manini Menon (2016) 10 Indian Movies That Did Justice To The LGBT Community: movies you must watch: covers the facts of the LGBT community and how they are humiliated and are made fun of and how they are portrayed in a sarcastic and stereotypical manner. Prateek Sharma and Vaishnavi Sundar (2016) Indian Cinema and its misguided portrayal of the LGBT community: where he discusses briefly about the portrayal of homosexuality in cinema only as of the depiction of their isolated life and not with much focus on their personal life.

THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

There are various media and gender theories that can be used to denote the impact of LGBT movies on the viewers. They are stereotype theory, queer theory and hypodermic theory. Internal and External elements Influencing Sexual Behaviour: Content Analysis of Film

1. My Brother Nikhil brags of a blend of two themes one of homosexuality and other a story of an AIDS patient which is still a hesitating theme to discuss. Nikhil was an adorable person whom everyone loves. Life was never the same for him when he was HIV positive. His family and friends expect his sister Anu and friend Nigel was not ready to accept him and his situation. Alienation from his dear ones and the lack of acceptance from the society was the emotional dilemma he faced.The care and comfort of his friend Nigel awakened his identity. There was nothing vulgar and disgusting about Nikhil being homosexual or HIV positive. He was a victim of disgust and neglection from society.

2. Margarita with A Straw was a Delhi based urban girl’s story who had a loving family who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Her heart belongs to the lead singer of the college band. When he made it clear to her that he did not like her, she was left devastated. Somehow she moved on, took an offer of a place on a creative writing program at NYU where she encountered firebrand activist Khanum. She was blind and with whom she embarked on a beautiful same-sex affair. In Margarita with a Straw, it was her inferiority complex that acted as a hindrance in moving ahead, but when she found Khanum she gained her lost confidence. Through Khanum, she was in search of her lost identity and comfort. When Laila shared about the bisexual identity with her mother she laments.

3. Chitrangada: The Crowning Wish held a mirror to the progressive society that is still

confused about handling homosexuality. The film addressed the notion of gender, identity and gender transformation in a compelling way. The main protagonists in the film, Rituparno and Partho, who fell in love with each other. Their relationship International Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics Special Issue 2860 intensified until Partho becomes a drug addict. Thereafter the relationship faces uncertainties and Rituparno wants to distance himself from the relationship, but neither he nor Partho are actually able to do so. When things get better, he and Partho started living together in a house and think of adopting a child. Rituparno was ready to change his sex to become a woman so that they could adopt a child as the country does not allow same-sex lovers to adopt children. This results in an identity conflict in Rituparno and he had a nervous breakdown. He realizes the truth Partho adored only the manliness in him. Finally, Rituparno cancels his transplantation surgery. The difficulty of a same-sex couple in adopting a child is the emotional complexity faced by the protagonist that forces her to think of sex change. Internal and External Elements (emotional complexities) Influencing a Person’s Sexual Identity Emotional complexities basically mean the emotional dilemmas or swings a person faces. These emotional complexities can occur due to internal as well as external factors.

Internal elements refer to the ones that arise out of an individual’s thinking or mind. For instance, emotions like anger, depression and mood swings. Whereas, External elements refer to the ones that come from the external surroundings/environment that is created by the society the individual lives in. for instance, alienation, abuse (physical and verbal). The emotional complexities influence a person to a large extent. Emotional complexities like loneliness can lead to mood swings. There are certain factors that resist the mind from being happy. Loneliness and other depressions can lead to sexual complexities due to lack of feelings and emotions. Movies portray the emotional complexities of the LGBT community. For instance, in the movie, my brother Nikhil. The society alienates Nikhil on discovering that he is HIV+. Here the alienation that is created by the society works as the external element and the anguish from this acts as the internal element.

CONCLUSION Emotional complexities have had and still have a predominant influence on self-realization, which results in the awakening of one’s identity. The representation of the queer community, be it satirical and unrealistic has attached stigma related to their identity as a community. Heterosexuality has been portrayed as the only sexual alteration and always portrayed in a negative manner, but some movies have shown us that the justification in portraying the emotional complexities of the LGBT community in a way more sensible manner. The general film portrays homosexual characters either for humour or merely as an element to showcase a distinctive sexual identity. But they do not make an effort to show the real situations that can help a person to look into one’s own identity. Instead of merely portraying the main protagonist or giving them a “space” in mainstream movies, the portrayal of their emotional complexities should be given the utmost priority. By portraying these complexities in a more realistic manner, the viewers will be able to realise the real scenario. Most importantly it is necessary to portray the real and accurate lives of homosexuals rather than portraying homosexuality as odd.

Cinema shoukd not be confined just to entertain the audience, but rather it should focus on the development. Therefore, it should portray these relationships and it’s complexities in more of a welcoming way rather than using them as objects to gain the viewer’s attention.

CITATIONS Bhattacharyya, A. (2016). The Variation in the Depiction of Queer Sexuality in India and the Question of Social Change. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INNOVATIVE RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT,5(2278 – 0211), 81-84. Retrieved December 10, 2017.

Bhattacharjee, J. (2014). Third Gender in Indian Films with a special Reflection on hitrangada. International Journal of Scientific and Research Publication,4(2250-3153). Retrieved December 5, 2017. Chatterjee, R. (2017). 100 Years of Indian Cinema: Homosexuality in films. Retrieved November 30, 2017. Sabharwal, S. K., & Sen, R. (2012). PORTRAYAL OF SEXUAL MINORITIES IN HINDI FILMS. Global Media Journal,3(2249 - 5835), 1-2. Retrieved December 2, 2017. Sharma, P., & Sundar, V. (2016). ) Indian Cinema and its misguided portrayal of the LGBT community. Retrieved December 15, 2017.

Indian Movies That Did Justice To The LGBT Community

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(n.d.). Retrieved February 12,