INDIAN LGBTQIA + CHARACTERS WHO STARTED A CONVERSATION

RollingStone India|June 2020

INDIAN LGBTQIA + CHARACTERS WHO STARTED A CONVERSATION
From love and acceptance to resistance and revolution, Indian streaming’s offerings brought us a host of characters who heralded a diverse set of conversations. We only hope that creators continue to voice, portray and do justice by the LGBTQIA+ multitude ahead. Here are the characters who stood out to us, setting the ball rolling for layered portrayals in the near and far future:

UMANG SINGH

FOUR MORE SHOTS PLEASE!

Four More Shots Please! debuted as a breezy romantic comedy-drama in 2019 and gave us Indian streaming’s LGBTQIA+ canon couple #Umara (Umang Singh played by Bani J and Samara Kapoor played by Lisa Ray). While the ship itself is contentious, it birthed a beautiful arc for Singh in season two—that of her journey to self-love. In a time when narratives of sexuality often revolve around societal acceptance, Singh undergoes a raw metamorphosis as she comes to terms with her feelings toward her partner and her need for self-expression.

It’s heartbreaking to see her unravel onscreen but Bani J does nuanced justice by Singh trying to hold on to both: a relationship she stands up to the world for, as well as a self she fought tooth and nail to build. As we see her personality shrinking towards the end of the season, it’s a powerful moment of both agency and representation when Singh breaks free from tradition to choose herself.

While Singh’s characterization arguably leaned on the stereotypical depiction of bisexual women in season one, season two subtly took on the issue of bisexual erasure and we saw the character move from a space of having to prove her sexual orientation to simply walking away from the performative, validating her true self. It’s an undoubtedly stellar moment in the series and the hope is that Four More Shots Please! takes on more subversive arcs and digs deeper in its writing for the third act.

KARAN MEHRA

MADE IN HEAVEN

Arjun Mathur played wedding planner Karan Mehra in 2019’s layered drama Made In Heaven. As a man standing up to the system, warring with his own demons and building his own empire, Mehra is anything but a caricature, setting a great example for how creators should approach and represent LGBTQIA+ characters in their works.

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June 2020