A Gay Scandal in Bollywood

BY Parvez Sharma

January 27 2011 5:15 PM ET

Recently a salacious article appeared in the Mumbai Mirror, a Bombay (Mumbai), India, tabloid.

In it struggling Bollywood actor Yuvraj Parashar accused Onir, one of Bollywood's few openly gay directors, who tries hard to deal with homosexuality sensitively in his work, of molesting him over drinks at the director's apartment. In the manner of tabloid journalism, the article went into lurid details of the actor’s accusations.

Parashar had recently appeared in a travesty of a film stupidly called Dunno Y — Na Jaane Kyon. The film wins the award for most unimaginative title, ever hands down; it translates as Dunno Y [sic] — I Don't Know Why. A South Asian LGBT film festival in New York had programmed it last year. The organizers realized they had made a profound mistake in showing the film without having screened it. Most who saw it called it "the worst film ever made in India." Unfortunately, India's extremely immature and hyperactive media had decided to label the film “India's Brokeback Mountain." By all accounts, to compare the film to the profound cinema Ang Lee is known for is incredibly laughable at the very least. The film, in spite of this misguided PR campaign around it, bombed at the box office. Even by Bollywood’s, often questionable standards, the film was an embarrassment.

I did not see the film. I am glad I did not.

Onir is an Indian and openly gay filmmaker I met a couple of years ago. At five feet nothing, he is a wisp of a man. He is also incredibly self-effacing and humble and would be unlikely to turn many heads at a party by sheer force of personality or a loud voice. But Onir is one of the few people in this world whose actions speak louder than his words. So does his talent.





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