BLOG - Going gay in Bollywood

Gays and transgenders pose for photographers during "Queer Azadi Mumbai 2008", a parade for gays and lesbian rights, in Mumbai August 16, 2008. REUTERS/Arko Datta

MUMBAI (Reuters) - A lot of taboos are being broken in Bollywood today. Kissing on screen is no longer frowned upon. Protagonists actually have grey shades. Having live-in relationships and pre-marital sex is no longer the preserve of villains.

And now the Indian film industry is set to break another barrier.

For years the word gay was all but banned in the oh-so-straight world of Bollywood, where heroes were always blue-blooded heterosexuals, with a harem of girls at their feet while heroines had eyes only for the opposite sex.

It is perhaps a reflection of the way in which Indian society has become more open that even Bollywood is now being inclusive.

The new Abhishek Bachchan-John Abraham film “Dostana” shows the two protagonists pretending to be gay, complete with a dance sequence in the moonlight.

A few years ago in “Kal Ho Naa Ho”, Shah Rukh Khan and Saif Ali Khan treated the whole homosexuality element with some slapstick humour.

Deepa Mehta dealt with homosexuality in a bold manner in her film “Fire,” the story of two women in middle class Delhi who are trapped in loveless marriages and find love in each other. But the film was not without its share of controversy, with protests dogging it throughout its short run at the box-office.

Madhur Bhandarkar also depicted homosexuality within the glamour industry in his critically acclaimed “Page 3″.

There are more gay characters in Hindi movies than ever before. One day, we might even have a “Brokeback Mountain” in Bollywood and it won’t cause a furore in India. Here’s looking forward to that day.