Page last updated at 13:01 GMT, Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Bollywood director confident gay kiss will pass censors

By Shabnam Mahmood
BBC Asian Network

The poster of Dunno Y ... Na Jaane Kyun
The poster of Dunno Y ... Na Jaane Kyun features two men

The director of a Bollywood film featuring the first male gay kiss in mainstream Indian cinema expects censors to pass the film for release.

Sanjay Sharma made Dunno Y ... Na Jaane Kyun (Don't Know Why) after a High Court ruling overturned a law against homosexuality in India last year.

"At the moment I'm not thinking about any political or censor problems," Sharma told BBC Asian Network.

The release of Bollywood's answer to Brokeback Mountain is planned for May.

The subject of gay relationships is still a taboo issue in India and Dunno Y is expected to stir plenty of controversy as it promises to be the country's boldest portrayal of a serious and explicit sexual relationship between two men.

Sharma's brother Kapil plays one of the lead male characters, while the film also features more established Bollywood stars Zeenat Aman, Helen and Kabir Bedi.

During my first scene - a gay party - my parents turned up on set...I was wearing these hot shorts and a jacket
Dunno Y actor Kapil Sharma

Dunno Y is Sanjay Sharma's directorial debut and he says his first project is not a publicity stunt but a "serious film" about an issue which saw Bollywood make fun of gay characters with 2008 release Dostana.

Dostana portrayed two men who "pretended" to be gay to fool a landlady into letting her daughter live with them.

Although the male characters kissed at the end of that film as a punishment, they were not gay.

Sanjay insists Dunno Y depicts a "normal relationship" between two men and that he was not scared to broach the subject.

"I'm not afraid of anything," he said. "I stand by my conviction."

Promotional posters of the film have already been released and show two semi-naked men locked in a passionate embrace.

Kapil Sharma believes Indian audiences are now ready to accept homosexuality on screen and says it is the right time to tackle the subject as India is opening up to bolder issues.

He plays the lead - a struggling model who goes to Mumbai to seek fame and fortune - and then embarks on an intimate relationship with another man.

When it came to the kiss scene, Kapil laughed: "Me and my co-actor were hesitant and feeling somewhat odd about the whole thing but the director told us to be sincere in our role.

"Added to that, during my first scene - a gay party - my parents turned up on set.

"I was wearing these hot shorts and a jacket. These drag queens were all around me so that was definitely very awkward. But, after three or four days I became immune to who was there."

Kapil is hoping that the film being released in English will see "the censors will be more liberal".



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