A leading actor in who acts as the public face of the LGBT community in India says it is high time for Indian cinema to pave the way to eradicate anti-gay social taboos especially since Bollywood is filled with closet gays.
“Bollywood is filled with closeted gays who pretend to be straight. It will take a long time for people to be open about the issue. The change definitely needs to start with our film industry” Kirron Kher told Mumbai Mirror in an interview.
Kher, 59, is a popular Indian theatre, film and television actress, who has long been “fearless and completely committed to the LGBT community” in India, according to the news outlet.
She is also a sitting Member of Parliament representing the ruling right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party that considers consensual same-sex relations unnatural and will not to do away with the colonial-era “Section 377” law that makes such relations punishable with up to life imprisonment.
“One's prayer and pleasure are personal business. Which God I pray to and what turns me on in bed are private matters. I've a mixed bag of friends who are homosexuals, heterosexuals and bi-sexuals. Their sexual orientation does not define our friendship,” she was quoted as saying.
Kher has acted in Bollywood blockbuster films such as Dostana where she played a stereotypical mother very upset at her son being gay but who in the course of the film learnt to accept her son’s sexuality.
“The day parents fight the social and moral taboos surrounding the LGBT community we'll have tackled the issue,” said Kher who has often used her popular TV shows to fight for the rights of India’s oppressed gay community. Recently, she hosted the talk show Purushkshetra to discuss same-sex relations for the first time on Indian television.
Commenting on her party’s opposition to equality rights, she pointed out that many in power are against Section 377 but there are also those who support it.
Kirron is married to another popular Bollywood actor Anupam Kher who has appeared in several hundred films and many plays mainly in Bollywood.
Bollywood is the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India’s commercial capital. Bollywood is the largest film producer in India and one of the largest centres of film production in the world. Bollywood is also formally referred to as Hindi cinema.