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4 Bollywood Celebs Who Openly Embrace Their Queer Identities

National award-winning directors including Apurva Asrani, Onir and Shonali Bose are among the few openly queer in Hindi cinema. 
  • Namrata Ganguly
  • Editorial
Published -04 Sep 2022, 14:32 ISTUpdated -04 Sep 2022, 14:30 IST
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The conversation regarding the lack of representation from the LGBTQ community in Bollywood has always been prevalent. While there have been several Bollywood films in recent years that narrate the stories of queer people, there were no LGBTQ actors portraying the roles or very few from the community as the narrators. 

Here are four people from the LGBTQ community who are openly queer and have championed the conversation around the same. 

Apurva Asrani

Known for films and series like Satya (1998), Shahid (2013), Citylights (2014), Aligarh (2016), and Made In Heaven (2019) the National award-winning director Apurva Asrani is one of the few people in Indian cinema who is openly gay. In 2018, when the Supreme Court of India repealed Section 377, Asrani told the media that he felt “vindictive” by the order. 

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A post shared by Apurva (@apurva_asrani)

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The National award-winning director Onir has recently been making headlines after he cast an actor belonging to the queer community in the lead role of his upcoming film Pine Cone. The filmmaker is best known for his 2005 film My Brother… Nikhil starring Juhi Chawla, Sanjay Suri, Victor Banerjee, and Purab Kohli. The film is one of the first Bollywood mainstream films to deal with AIDS and same-sex relationships and is based on the life of AIDS activist Dominic d’Souza. 

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A post shared by Onir (@iamonir)

“I want to tell stories that do not cater to heteronormative gaze or the eyeballs of Box Office. If you look around, you will see that be it platforms or otherwise, most people who are making films about queer narratives are the people who are not queer. Why, for example, am not I asked to do those films?”  said Onir in an interview. 

Shonali Bose

Another National award-winning filmmaker is Shonali Bose who made her debut with the 2005 biographical film Amu starring Konkona Sen Sharma. She has given us films like Margarita With A Straw (2015) which narrates the story of a same-sex relationship between two women living with disabilities, The Sky Is Pink (2019) and the recent Amazon Prime Originals Modern Love Mumbai. During an interview, Bose said that she discovered her bisexuality when she met a girl during her education program. 

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A post shared by Shonali Bose (@shonalibose_)

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Sushant Divgikr

Sushant Divgikr, popularly known as Rani, is a model, television host and performer who won the Mr Gay World India in 2014 and is now the director of the organisation. The same year he also appeared as a participant in the 2014 Salman Khan-hosted Bigg Boss. Following the Supreme Court’s 2018 order, the model took to social media and wrote, “Thanks to the Honourable Supreme Court! I’m so so happy and proud! All these years of fighting for our rights to be equal citizens!”

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