India enters Gay World
Asian Age, India
January 31, 2003
Two fading drag queens, a pesky gay teenager and the object of their attentions- the bisexual! Add to this a mujra, cabaret, and a heady concoction of passion, feuds, erotica- and you have a slice of gay life in India's first gay film, Gulabi Aaina (The Pink Mirror).
TV serial director and ad filmmaker Sridhar Rangayan, who has to his credit award winning serials like Rishtey and Gubbare, has donned the film director's hat saying that his purpose is to entertain. " I wanted to demolish caricatures and stereotypes, but it is not a radical or propagandist film. The treatment is that of a typical Bollywood entertainer. Though cross-dressing characters have been a staple in many Hindi films, they have always been the butt of jokes. Most of the recent Indi-films have used gay characters as a leverage for sensationalism- more like an item number. People laughed at them. Now we want people to laugh with them."
On the symbolic nature of the title, art director Saagar Gupta said: " On one level, the mirror is a metaphor for the audience, who is witness to the happiness and tears of the characters. At a more literal level, we made up the mirror with light bulbs and photographs of all the queens 'male' conquests."
When asked if he thought a television serial would have been more appropriate, Sridhar said: "Television as a medium has dried up. The same tearjerkers and family dramas do the rounds. Two years back we submitted a proposal for a gay episode on Rishtey. But the producer politely told us, 'It's interesting, but lets not do it now' when we started looking for producers for the film, no producer wanted to touch it. So we decided to make the film under own banner." With money lent by friends, the technicians agreeing to work gratis, the film finally took off.
Speaking about his leading characters, Sridhar said: "I had worked with Ramesh Menon and Edwin Fernandes earlier during Darmiyan and they were right for Bibbo and Shabbo. Rishi Raj breezed into our office with his pictures and we knew he was our Mandy, the gay teenager peeping out of the closet."
a hunk to play Samir, was, however, more of an uphill task for the director.
" Some of the television actors we approached refused to do it point
blank. One actor agreed to do the rule, but was totally psyched out in the
first reading. We had to look for a replacement two days before the shooting
began. Around the same time, Rufy Baqal heard the script and agreed to do
With the film wrapped up, Sridhar is eager for the response from his colleagues in the film fraternity. The public will however have to wait a wee bit longer.