SUMMER in my VEINS- 1999 Documentary short about a Gay Indian coming out to his mother on camera by Nishit Saran

This a short documentary film (split in 2 parts for youtube) in which Nishit Sharan, a gay Indian who was studying film-making in Harvard, decided to film himself coming out to his mother, who was visiting him for graduation. He is also dealing with the anxiety of having slept with someone with HIV and during the film he is awaiting results. Shots where the aunties are joking about gays captured something that said quite a lot in a few shots; the innocent brutality in sheltered conservative lives. I didn’t feel animosity towards these women, for whom the very idea of being gay is as foreign as intergalactic space travel…but I recognized in them the same sort of conversations that you hear across different parts of middle class India…where there is time to pass and it is often passed through bitching sessions which can seen totally innocent…till you realize that the “other” whom you are deriding could be none other than your own son, nephew or another one close to you.

Summer in My Veins Part 1:

I find it very powerful in its simplicity. What he went through is something quite standard for gay, lesbian and queer Indians living anywhere in the world; the guilt and anxiety and question of whether or not to come out to your family, when the right time is, and how to do it. Some people avoid it all-together, choosing to marry a chosen spouse or to marry another member of the gay/lesbian community of the opposite sex, so that both parties might resolve the familial pressure without sacrificing their sexuality. One never knows how a parent will react…as middle class India is, at best condescending about it and at worst, repulsed and prepared to disown a child. So the question lingers, if one were to come out…when? Where? How? Nishit used a camera to do it…and its hard to tell how exactly the camera is functioning. It may be interesting to think about how the camera functions here. One reading might be that by inviting a public gaze into this, his most guarded family secret, he completely depersonalizes his own problem, attempting to universalize it, and play out one of the greatest fears held by so many people who anticipate the moment of “coming out.”

Summer in My Veins Part 2:

Another reading of how the camera functions might be to think of it as a receptacle (like Dumbledore’s pensieve), that invites the person on the other side to confess and empty their thoughts in a performative manner- certainly for every person who is aware they are being filmed, there is a heightened sense of activity…just a slight exaggeration of how you imagine yourself in the every-day-ness of things. Through that awareness that you are being recorded you measure out what you do just a little more clearly….it is like Neitszche’s idea of eternal return in metaphor- if you were to live your life assuming that each and every gesture you make might be repeated over and over again, as if you were to live your life as if this- this very moment- as you are reading my words, is what you might do again in exactly the same way, when you die, and your life- a record- were to be played on the phonograph with exactly the same mistakes, boredoms, and repetitions as you had made in your first shot at existence…..this is precisely what a camera does….it creates a metaphor for eternal return…you can play the tape over and over again and though your interpretation of the content may change…those gestures and words flicker cyclically…they become like engravings on the mausoleum of your remembered self…and in a moment as crucial as the day you announce your sense of self to your community…the camera becomes a way of ritualizing, heightening, and emblazoning the event within the moment of its conception and ever after.

To make matters more poignant, after making this film, which was successfully doing the festival rounds, and Nishit was becoming the toast of the town- a young hopeful who was expected to produce more fine documentaries and films, some of which may have developed more of a niche for queer cinema and docu-dramas in India…he was tragically hit by a drunken truck driver near Connaught place while he and some of his friends were driving home from a party late at night. I was stunned when I made the connection and realised that this accident was the same one that claimed the life of a friend of mine, Pooja Mukherjee, who was then a successful young VJ (music video D J), and who was riding in the car when it was smashed, not very far from where I used to live in Delhi. His mother and father have set up a foundation in his memory.

The Foundation is managed by Minna Saran and Col Raj Saran, other members of the Saran family and friends of Nishit. Beginning with the Nishit Saran Award at Army Public School and the memorial site on Lodi Road, the foundation is now expanding its work by supporting young film makers, curating and traveling with Nishit’s films, beginning an annual film festival, and extending counseling vis-à-vis sexuality for parents.

That above quote is from the website of the Nishit Saran Foundation and here is one written by his mother::

In Summer in my Veins, Nishit filmed the moment when he told me about his sexuality, that he was gay. I don’t think any other parent would have quite that kind of coming out moment, but in their own way, our children are always talking to us, trying to tell us about their lives, even when they can’t say it out in so many words. Sometimes it is us who cannot bring ourselves to listen, or to even realize that there is something in the minds of our children they cannot share with us.

Desi Gay Guy Comes out to his parents: comedy clip from Goodness Gracious Me!

India’s first Male Stripper-and-taking some Hollywood/Bollywood stars out of the closet

Up until now I really thought that John Abraham john-ab.jpgwas the man most in love with his biceps but I stand corrected… meet “Ali”- the first male stripper in India…apparently its illegal to work as a stripper in Bombay but that’s hardly going to get between a man and his passion….and this guy has a genuine passion for himself!… and its really quite adorable…he’s like a kid in a candy shop…and the candy is rich society wives of industrialists, horny single desk jockey chicks…and I guess where there is a “gap” in the market “Ali” cabana boy has come to fill it with kung-fu kicks and jazz dance pivots and lots of Vaseline on his shaved superhero chest. And all these excitable Desi chicks there…waiting to live out their deepest fantasies of pulling stretch pants off of a cowboy ….(who looks like he escaped from touring with the Village People) village-people-cowboy.jpg

…apparently he’s inspired by Paula Abdul and Janet Jackson (both secretly gay men)…perhaps that’s where he got the idea that leather and lycra= macho…as he prepares for a party where they asked him to go with a slightly “macho animal theme” hmmm….(I ponder)…I guess on He Man (as prince adam) lycra was kind of macho…prince-adam.jpgbut then I’ve always wondered whether He Man was really a gay porn star…and that Skeletor was secretly his bitch…they both looked like the guys who auditioned to be a part of the Village people but didn’t quite make the cut… of course I had a massive crush on He Man…

Which makes me ask the question…what makes hot gay guys (who look like “Ali”) seem kind of hot to straight women? And by hot gay guys I mean (though there are varied definitions)…guys who have appropriated the classic stereotypes of heteronormative masculinity in a manner which both outdoes the original model (bigger biceps, more leather, etc.) and also manages to have a bit of transgressive self-reflexive fun…I guess the irony of these original hetero hollywood models of masculinity…. is that they were mostly invented by (in the closet) gay men like cowboy hunk Rock Hudson —rock-hudson.jpg or the man that caused 100,000 women to weep at his funeral….1920’s heartthrob Rudolph Valentino-rudolph-valentino-the-sheik.jpg the sexy “Sheik” – …..…or the original Ben Hur- Mexican immigrant Ramon Novarro-…………………… ………..ben-hur.jpg … Tyrone Power-the original “Zorro”-tyrone-power.jpg…James Dean…also rumoured to be bisexual-……………….james-dean.jpg…Adam West and Burt Ward…Batman and Robin, that is, were rumoured to be gay and lots of speculation abounded as to whether or not on the tv show and movies there were a lot of hidden innuendos-batmand-and-robin-2.jpg……of course you would have thought that there was no question that “the riddler”- Frank Gorshin was gay- he was too fabulous not to be…but no he wasn’t…the-riddler.jpg…. But cesar romero…”the joker”…also fabulous…was gay-cesar-romero.gif…anyways the list goes on indefinitely…including Mike Brady…the all American Dad from the Brady bunch sitcom….brady-bunch-dad-2.jpg

…So (apart from the joker) that means that the idea of the sexually attractive Wasp “normative” male Hollywood man was designed for “normative” women by quite a few gay men….so gay men designed straight women’s desire…..which explains the widespread use of lycra by straight male superheroes and (fitness instructor superstar)Richard Simmons simultaneously…………..richard-simmons.jpg

I mean…in the olden days…Batman, Superman, Daredevil…etc.daredev.jpg They all used to wear lycra-…they were drawn wearing lycra and they were filmed wearing lycra…and they all looked good in Barnum and Baily Circus “strong man” sort of way….but lately (and by lately I mean approx. 10 years) everyone seems to be upgrading to rubber superhero suits…even the chicks are wearing rubber… batman-rubber.jpg…and where else in the world do you find people wearing full rubber suits in a public venue? Sado Masochistic Bondage BDSM clubs which were originally started by gay men in the 60’s and 70’s (that later evolved to include other genders)bdsm-suit-2.jpgFoucault was in one of those clubsfoucault.jpg back in the day…and if you rewind a couple of hundred centuries…where there were chains but no rubber…these clubs were Roman orgies often populated by those very same gay Greco-Roman philosophers who designed western thought and the principles of justice upon which our modern day superheros base their crusades… (reminds me of a joke once told to me… “In ancient Sparta how did you separate the boys from the men? With a crowbar.” Frank Miller managed to circumvent that part of the story in “300”)frankmiller300-2.jpg

So there’s my theory as a result of watching “Ali” strip naked in front of a bunch of Bombay office chicks. Gay men designed heterosexuality…superheroes…and the theory of justice. And I think they deserve a big thank you….if hetero guys had designed themselves…they would probably be running around today wearing milk cartons on their feet, loin cloths made of Victoria secret catalogues and hats made of jello. And if they’d designed their own justice system…well I think George W’s presidency illustrates that eventuality. george-of-the-bungle-2.jpg

Come on guys…golly gee…I come in peace..….here’s a clip by way of apology… a nice strip tease by the lovely voluptuous…lady…
Shah Rukh Khan…

By the by…I have heard a lot of insider talk from actors and directors working in Bombay right now and apparently it is rumoured that 90 percent of the classic hetero heros are either gay or bisexual…I’m talking Akshay Kumar, Shah Rukh Khan, Salmaan Khan, etc. but like Hollywood actors of yesteryear (and even today) they keep all this stuff in the closet so as not to alienate viewers…I think only Karan Johar is slightly open about which way he swings…Spiderman…still not so sure…he’s the only superhero still wearing lycra! If he’s a gay man…he’s an embarrassment to the community. And if he’s straight…well Tobey Maguire is still an embarrassment…he does this horrifying attempt at looking macho while dancing and ends up looking like an evil Leprechaun on crack. See clip here. spiderman-lycra.jpg

A British Guy in Gujarat Discovers he is a Reincarnated Hindu Goddess

british-dude-goddess.jpg
12 April 2007

I had to read it to believe it. The guy apparently had his divine revelation in a British shop when he happened to look at a picture of the Goddess Bahuchar Mata. In a temple in Gujarat he is being worshiped as her living reincarnation. And I have to say I’m impressed that Xenophobia isn’t a visible factor here…He doesn’t speak Hindi or Gujurati and no one is allowed to address him in English so he’s basically blessing people with monosyllables….wearing a sari…and living in Gujurat now on the same basis that other Indian hijras do…by taking food that is offered to him by devotees that he meets at the temple. His visa is expiring in six months and he doesn’t want to leave. I wonder if the immigration authorities would have the balls to deport a reincarnated goddess in the body of a British man named Stephen Cooper! link to article

Vidur Kapur- Indian, gay, Immigrant (stand-up comedy-USA)

Vidur Kapur- On Indians and Sex (stand-up comedy-USA)

Vidur Kapur- On Challenges for Indians in America and – Comparing School in India to School in US