There is nothing that this filmmaker who once made brilliant films like Satya and Company, won’t do for publicity. So when my friend Ramu, known to you all as the once-famous Ram Gopal Varma, sent me the trailer of what he described as his first lesbian/crime action film I knew there would be trouble.
And I was right. Dangerous looks like a dangerously offensive and untruthful take on lesbianism. The trailer shows us two young women, mostly in bikinis, kissing one another with a faked passion. We are told they turned into lovers because their respective boyfriends treated them badly.
Hang on. Is Ramu suggesting that homosexuality can be brought on by disappointment with heterosexuality? Something like the logic behind, ‘My wife doesn’t sleep with me, so I’ll sleep with other women’? Is this director, who considering his age should know better, suggesting that lesbianism is a form of backlash to insensitivity in same-sex relationship?
That’s what the trailer suggests. And the netizens have understandably gone ballistic. They are outraged by Ramu’s half-baked; no make that laugh-baked, theory on homosexuality. One Tweet reads, “While I know reporting a tweet won't cancel the film but we should mass report RGV's movie poster tweet about some misrepresented lesbian crime drama. It's outright homophobic.”
Maybe this is the reaction he wanted. But I wish he had watched the great films on lesbianism that have been released in recent times outside India: Francis Lee’s Ammonite, Mona Fastvold’s The World To Come, Alice Wu’s The Half Of It and Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite.
Or better still, nearer home Deepa Mehta’s Fire the monumental game-changer which she made 25 years ago, and is still one of the most relevant films on lesbian love. I remember Gulzar Saab once telling me that in a good lovemaking scene the audience should be able to see beyond the gender and the physical presence. In Dangerous all we see are two female bodies painted all over the frames.
Pity the two actresses Naina Ganguly and Apsara Rani. Their careers are over even before they started.
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