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It’s time for an LGBTQ movie marathon as we welcome Pride Month 2023

Bollywood movies are considered to be a mirror of the society. In the past few years, Indian filmmakers have picked up sensitive topics that are considered taboo and have created films that are not only touching but are often educational. One such topic that has been explored profoundly is LGBTQ representation in Bollywood movies. The representation of the queer community has been a topic of discussion and progress for the longest time, where as an industry we have crossed many milestones in talking about the problems faced by the community.

Historically, Bollywood movies portrayed LGBTQ characters and themes with stereotypes, clichés, and limited nuances. They were often depicted with exaggerated mannerisms, caricatures, and offensive stereotypes. And while we have a long way to go, there has been a gradual shift towards more authentic and inclusive representations in recent times.

Bollywood has started to produce movies that depict LGBTQ characters with more depth, empathy, and sensitivity. This shift can be attributed to evolving social attitudes, increased awareness, and the efforts of filmmakers, actors, and activists advocating for the community’s rights and representation. Now, as we enter Pride Month in June, here’s a list of LGBTQ movies that you can binge-watch in celebration.

10 LGBTQ movies to celebrate Pride Month

Bollywood has made strides in LGBTQ representation, but it is an ongoing journey. There is a growing awareness of the importance of authentic portrayals and the need for positive representation that can contribute to the acceptance and understanding of the community in Indian society. Here are a few films that managed to achieve this feat through their inspiring stories. Check out the list here:

1 /10


Directed by: Deepa Mehta
Cast: Shabana Azmi, Nandita Das
Release date: 5 November 1998

Synopsis: Fire is loosely based on Ismat Chughtai’s 1942 story titled Lihaaf (The Quilt). It revolves around two women in unhappy marriages, who eventually develop a sexual relationship. The movie unapologetically dissects topics like lesbianism and freedom of speech.

More about the film: Fire is one of the first mainstream Bollywood films that explicitly talked about homosexual relations. It is also the first film to feature a lesbian relationship.

Image Credit: IMDb

2 /10

My Brother...Nikhil

Directed by: Onir
Cast: Sanjay Suri, Juhi Chawla, Victor Banerjee, Purab Kohli
Release date: 25 March 2005

Synopsis: My Brother…Nikhil zoomed in on AIDS awareness in India and also subtly dealt with homosexuality. The film is based on the life of Dominic d’Souza, who was an AIDS activist in Goa and the city’s patient zero for the virus. It takes you through the life of a man who, after being diagnosed with AIDS in the early 90s, was forcibly quarantined and neglected by society.

More about the film: This emotional movie was critically acclaimed worldwide.

Image Credit: IMDb

3 /10

I Am

Directed by: Onir
Cast: Juhi Chawla, Manisha Koirala, Rahul Bose, Nandita Das, Arjun Mathur, Sanjay Suri, Anurag Kashyap, Purab Kohli, Radhika Apte, Manav Kaul
Release date: 29 April 2011

Synopsis: I Am consists of four short films titled Omar, Afia, Abhimanyu, and Megha. Each segment of the film is based on real-life stories. Omar talks about the misuse of gay rights. Abhimanyu talks about a person struggling with his sexual identity while also dealing with the trauma of being sexually abused as a child.

More about the film: Six different languages are spoken in I Am, and hence the film was released with subtitles in Hindi, English, Kannada, Marathi, Bengali and Kashmiri.

Image Credit: IMDb

4 /10

Margarita with a Straw

Directed by: Shonali Bose
Cast: Kalki Koechlin, Revathi, Sayani Gupta, William Moseley
Release date: 17 April 2015

Synopsis: Margarita with a Straw talks about the concepts of sexuality, inclusion, self-love, and self-acceptance. The film narrates the story of a differently-abled, bisexual teenager Laila and her journey of exploring her sexuality. She suffers from cerebral palsy since birth and is confined to a wheelchair. But despite her condition, she is headstrong about living her life normally. She decides to leave for New York for further studies and explores her life there, while falling in love with both a guy and a girl. The movie follows her journey to finally accepting that she is bisexual.

More about the film: Margarita with a Straw premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. It was also screened at the Tallinn Black Nights, the BFI London, the Vesoul Festival of Asian Cinema, and the Galway Film Fleadh.

Image Credit: IMDb

5 /10


Directed by: Apurva Asrani
Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Rajkummar Rao
Release date: 26 February 2016

Synopsis: The movie is based on the life of Ramchandra Siras, a professor from Aligarh Muslim University. He was filmed having sex with a rickshaw puller at his house in a sting run by local media. The film talks about how his life and reputation were in ruins until a journalist tried to give him his life back.

More about the film: The film received a standing ovation at the 20th Busan International Film Festival.

Image Credit: IMDb

6 /10

Kapoor & Sons

Directed by: Shakun Batra
Cast: Rishi Kapoor, Sidharth Malhotra, Fawad Khan, Alia Bhatt, Ratna Pathak Shah, Rajat Kapoor
Release date: 18 March 2016

Synopsis: Kapoor & Sons revolves around the story of two estranged brothers who return to their home after their grandfather suffers a cardiac arrest. The film discusses dysfunctional families in the most delicate manner with a subplot dealing with homosexuality. The elder son, Rahul, comes out as gay, creating turmoil in his family life.

More about the film: The film was made on a budget of USD 3 million approx. (INR 28 crore). It earned USD 17 million approx. (INR 148 crore) worldwide, and was declared a blockbuster at the box office.

Image Credit: IMDb

7 /10

Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga

Directed by: Shelly Chopra Dhar
Cast: Anil Kapoor, Sonam K Ahuja, Rajkummar Rao, Juhi Chawla, Abhishek Duhan, Madhumalti Kapoor, Seema Pahwa, Brijendra Kala, Alka Kaushal and Kanwaljit Singh
Release date: 1 February 2019

Synopsis: ELKDTAL revolves around the story of Sweety Chaudhary. She is a closeted lesbian and the film talks about her endeavours to come out to her conservative and orthodox Punjabi family, and the drama that follows.

More about the film: The screenplay was selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for its library’s Core Collection.

Image Credit: IMDb

8 /10

Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan

Directed by: Hitesh Kewalya
Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Jitendra Kumar, Neena Gupta, Gajraj Rao, Maanvi Gagroo
Release date: 21 February 2020

Synopsis: A sequel of sorts to Shubh Mangal Saavdhan (2017), the film deals with the topic of homosexuality via humour. The story revolves around the lives of two gay men — Kartik Singh and Aman Tripathi, who are in love. While Kartik is quite open about his sexuality, Aman struggles with telling his family that he is in love with a man. The drama continues when Aman’s father decides to get him married to a girl.

More about the film: Shubh Mangal Zyada Savdhaan earned a gross of USD 8 million approx. (INR 72.36 crore) in India and USD 1 million approx. (INR 14.03 crore) overseas.

Image Credit: IMDb

9 /10

Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui

Directed by: Abhishek Kapoor
Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Vaani Kapoor
Release date: 10 December 2021

Synopsis: The story revolves around Manu, a bodybuilder from Chandigarh, who falls in love with Maanvi, a Zumba teacher. All seems well until Manu discovers that Maanvi is a trans woman. Manu decides to end the relationship, only to later realise what a grave mistake he has made.

More about the film: The film grossed USD 4 million approx. (INR 33.64 crore) in India and USD 596,285 (INR 4.93 crore) overseas.

Image Credit: IMDb

10 /10

Badhaai Do

Directed by: Harshavardhan Kulkarni
Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Bhumi Pednekar, Gulshan Devaiah, Chum Darang, Sheeba Chaddha, Seema Pahwa
Release date: 11 February 2022

Synopsis: Badhaai Do is a romantic comedy revolving around two queer people — Sumi and Shardul. The duo enters a lavender marriage in order to keep their respective families happy and to remain heterosexual in the eyes of society. However, the families eventually discover the truth, followed by a series of emotional scenes that will make you mushy as well. The film effortlessly talks about the importance of freedom to love, while also unravelling people’s conservative attitude towards the LGBTQ community.

More about the film: The film is a spiritual sequel to Badhaai Ho (2018).

Image Credit: IMDb


Hero & Feature Image: Courtesy IMDb

It’s time for an LGBTQ movie marathon as we welcome Pride Month 2023

Harleen Kalsi

Senior Editor

Harleen feeds off her nomadic spirit and incessant shenanigans on the road to stay alive. When not writing, she is busy searching for a good read/art/act.


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