A lot has been said about the representation of the queer community in Indian cinema, especially in Bollywood. In recent times, films like Badhaai Do or Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan started a conversation by having characters from the LGBTQ community. Now, Badhaai Do actor Gulshan Devaiah, who played Rajkummar Rao’s on-screen partner, opened up about queer representation in films and the prominence of equality when it comes to opportunities in the film industry.
Badhaai Do is a 2022 Indian Hindi comedy-drama film written by Suman Adhikary and Akshat Ghildial and directed by Harshavardhan Kulkarni. The movie served as a spiritual sequel to the 2018 film Badhaai Ho. It starred Rajkummar Rao and Bhumi Pednekar as a couple in a lavender marriage. Although the movie didn’t fare well at the box office, it did meet with a positive response for normalizing the silver-screen depiction of the gay and lesbian community and their romantic relationships.
During a candid conversation with Hindustan Times, the actor shared his views. He said, “Queer actors can play a straight part. It really depends on the capabilities and the skill set and the talent each actor has. I didn’t hear this at all because mostly what I heard were really good things about the film and my performance. It was unbelievable for me because it was a six-minute role, and I got so much love for it. It was written very well also, I can’t take all the credit for it.”
The actor who portrayed a queer lawyer in Badhai Do also emphasized that the whole argument of whether queer actors should play queer characters is ‘ridiculous’. He stated, “I think it’s a bit of ridiculous debate to have that a queer actor should have played it. People should get equal opportunities, regardless of their sexual orientation. If you are an actor then you are an actor, you can be hired to play a transgender or a straight part or anything. It should be about fair opportunities.”
Earlier during an exclusive interview with News18 Showsha, Harshvardhan Kulkarni who helmed the LGBTQ-friendly film said, “We know of a lot of queer actors who are doing heterosexual roles. Those people don’t want to identify themselves as queer and have not come out of the closet so I can’t give out those names. Actors are supposed to be acting, right? I don’t buy this logic at all. However, if queer actors are not being considered for any role, then it is a problem. But the film industry is liberal and an open and accepting place.”
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