From the same production house that got us the apparently “queer” obviously cringy Dostana, comes the (thankfully) refreshing family drama – Kapoor & Sons, a well done take on LGBTQ+ representation in Bollywood. Directed by Shakun Batra, this movie came out in 2016 and is a story of two estranged brothers who must come home to visit their ill grandfather and are forced to confront their unresolved conflicts. All this as they see their parents’ marriage crumble everyday!
The movie as such is about a dysfunctional family and the romantic plot and the part about Fawad’s character’s sexual orientation is just a sub-plot. Fawad khan plays one of the brothers, Rahul and the other one, Arjun, is played by Sidharth Malhotra, while Tia Malik played by Alia is a young and free-spirited girl they both meet. The Kapoor family is a ticking time bomb and in the plot Tia was a potential trigger.
Besides the family drama there is also a love triangle: Tia, kisses Rahul but finds herself falling for Arjun. The film was successful in showing the Indian family dynamics and the typical favourite child of the two children and the struggles of someone who is trying to “come out” to his family about his relationship.
Fawad won many awards for his portrayal of a gay man, but before he was offered the role, producer Karan Johar and director Shakun Batra has apparently offered the role to many Indian actors. Several actors including Saif Ali Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar, Shahid Kapoor and Aditya Roy Kapur were apparently approached for this role and they had all turned down for various reason not just because the character was gay.
It wasn’t the first movie to have a gay lead character in Indian cinema but most of those well-done portrayals have been tagged as “arthouse films,” and have not seen the kind of box-office success this movie has seen. What stood out in the portrayal of the gay man was the maturity with which it was done and also that it wasn’t the only thing/conflict focus of the character. By holding back this information about his orientation till quite late in the movie, Kapoor & Sons made the audience focus on the many other parts of a character that is gay not just the sexuality. This writing somewhere made the audience realise someone who is gay are not different from most others in terms of life struggles or feelings.
Sridhar Rangayan, the Indian filmmaker said Kapoor And Sons is one film that the gay community appreciates. He further said, “It is part of a larger story, it’s not like the entire focus was on him (Fawad Khan’s character, who comes out of the closet in the film). But it was a great idea in terms of the way the story was integrated and dealt with a lot of empathy.” On the whole, the movie was an honest and real portrayal of how ‘normal’ a gay man’s in India can be.
Kapoor and Sons, the Dharma Productions film which was distributed by Fox Star Studios is available on Netflix for you to stream.