Selected Bollywood Films as Sites of LGBTQ Contestation, Assertion and Cultural Disruption

Author: Sumati, PG Govt. College for Girls, India
Published: September 14, 2020

Citation: Sumati (2020). Selected Bollywood Films as Sites of LGBTQ Contestation, Assertion and Cultural Disruption. IAFOR Journal of Media, Communication & Film, 7(1).


Films function both as forms of cultural production as well as systems of representation and in those capacities, they are reflective of both; the basic patterns of production and the relational patterns in the society they project. Moreover, they have the potential to contribute to cultural economy and ecology. This article investigates the Indian experience through films from outcry against the film Fire (1996) to the discomforting accommodation of Aligarh (2015) and from the coming of age reception of Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga (2019) to the applausive responses to Shubh Mangal Jyada Savdhan (2020) in the context of the queer movement in India. It tracks the progressive curve of the LGBTQ discourse in reality and through a number of films. Looking at the matrix of films, the theoretical concept of conflict, along with Stuart Hall’s concept of Representation and Reception provide the framework of the discussion. Although acknowledging the problems of resistance and conflict, the article emphasizes the constitutive power of the media, especially when the currently visible mass culture, with its global, virtual outreach and leverage of the easily available platforms/spaces has subverted top-down discourses. The article ends with the hope that it will soon turn into a new normal and political inclusivity will expand and extend to all aspects of culture, thereby addressing the issues of under-representation and evolving vision in relation to a highly gendered society.


conflict, culture, films, gender, heteronormative, representation, sexuality