LGBT groups wary of Ram Gopal Varma's new film
Deccan Chronicle.| Naveen Kumar
Members from the LGBT community say that RGV is only commercializing his movie with the community tag & has done nothing to represent them
Director Ram Gopal Varma. (DC)
Hyderabad: Ahead of the release of his movie ‘Dangerous’, ostensibly India’s first lesbian thriller, its director Ram Gopal Varma is seeking the support of the LGBT community as multiplexes like PVR and Inox have refused to screen the film.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, Varma, popularly known as RGV, said that multiplex theatres have a financial obligation and cannot judge a film by its subject.
"They said that it is not a movie for a family audience. Even though the censor board has cleared it and the Supreme Court has repealed section 377, these multiplexes seem to be against the LGBT community," he said.
In a Twitter post, he said "It’s obvious that @PVRcinemas and @INOXCINEMAS are in contempt of the supreme court order for refusing to screen DANGEROUS "KHATRA" and it proves that they look down upon the #LGBT community" (sic).
When contacted, a senior employee from PVR India, Thomas D’Souza, refused to comment. Puneet from Inox movies said that the decision had nothing to do with the content. It was a programming call.
"In India, a substantial number of films made in a year do not get screened for varied reasons. It is not unusual for a movie not finding screens. Some are not released due to programming differences," he said.
Meanwhile, members from the LGBT community said that Varma is only commercializing his movie with the community tag and has done nothing to represent them.
"He is simply interested in lesbian porn and not into the human rights part of it. This is something which he has made clear in TV interviews. It does not mean that he cannot direct a movie on a lesbian couple. This is not how a movie on LGBT is to be made. Rather than objectifying us, he can talk about issues that should be brought to light, be it marriage or the struggles," said Rachana, a trans person and a trans rights activist.
Shama, a member of the LGBT community, said, "RGV has given media statements against us and now suddenly he wants to make a movie and is seeking our support. There is nothing humanitarian in his approach. It is all to serve his business interests."
"Although section 377 has ceased to exist, we are still stigmatized and isolated. If RGV wants to talk positively about LGBT, why did he say we were the culprits spoiling the younger generation?," asked Madhuri, another member of the community.
Hoshang Merchant, a retired professor from University of Hyderabad and a gay poet, said. "I don’t think that everything about LGBT should be put up on screen, especially, if it is sub-standard. Either way, I do not watch RGV’s movies as they portray a lot of violence. So many bad movies are made about the community."
"None of us are sure if it is a queer-friendly movie. His vulgar opinions on women and sex have already been heard. He has not done anything to support us. Let him join the movement and fight in the film industry about the way we are portrayed. It is only then we can back him," said Tashi, another member.
Patruni Chidananda Sastri, a drag queen from the city, said, "Even if it is released in PVR and multiplexes, who is benefiting-RGV or the community? Is it message-oriented like Badhai Do or Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui? In a media interaction he wanted to discuss only lesbian and not gay-related issues. If he donates half of his earnings to the community, then yes we can support him," said Sastri.
Meanwhile, the members of the multiplex association said that with the success of RRR, they are unable to figure out slots for upcoming movies like Ghani, KGF chapter 2, Attack and Beast.
"No exhibitor will be ready for small budget movies during these times," said Anupam Reddy.