Recently Abhishek Bachan was voted by a magazine called “Gay Asia” as Mumbai’s sexiest Asian man. The runners up were John Abraham, Aamir Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Dino Morea, Upen Patel, Arjun Rampal and Saif Ali Khan. Last year’s winner was John Abraham.
In a dominantly homophobic culture its nice to hear how the media climate has begun to change a bit. Although homosexuality is still, technically, illegal in India, a lot of movies have been surfacing in the mainstream over the past ten years that include references to gay identity and culture such as Honeymoon Travels, Life in A Metro, My Brother Nikhil, Page 3, Fire, etc. And of course there was Nishit Saran’s documentary “Summer in my Veins.” Although Abhishek strikes me as being about as hetero as they come, married as he is to Bollywood’s icon for femininity, and being from a family that expounds conservative old-school values of heteronormative familial tradition…Its nice that he didn’t completely wig out and managed to respond to his position as “gay icon” with a degree of respect for the gay community. If anything he just comes accross as slightly bashful.
“I don’t know how to react to this. Any kind of recognition is a blessing. I don’t believe in discriminating against any people. As long as any community loves me for doing what I do on screen, what more can I ask for?Of course I’m flattered and I feel hugely complimented. It’s not everyday that one gets singled out by a very important and sensitive community people. Of course I enjoy the thought of being a gay icon….though let me tell you, I don’t think I deserve it.”
I guess it would be pretty stupid, at this point, for any major actor to indulge in any publically vocal gay-bashing, considering Karan Johar is one of the major players in B-wood. Besides which, some of our top fashion designers, who do a lot of work for big Bollywood names, are invariably gay, and I hear rumours that, like Hollywood of yesteryear (and some claim even today) a lot of the sexiest male actors pose as heterosexual so that they can secure a strong female fan base. Who knows for sure? But the point is, lets hope that greater media visibility will one day lead to a general consesus that making homosexuality illegal is as bizarre as it would be disasterous for India’s film and media industry to exist without the creative imput from its varied sexualities.
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