Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma was disappointed when several theatres refused to screen his lesbian film Khatra, and wonders why the subject around homosexuality comes with a lot of stigma.
Last month, Varma took to Twitter to share his helplessness, sharing that several multiplex chains didn’t screen Khatra because it revolved around lesbians.
“Anything related to sex still remains to be a taboo, and especially something like this or a subject which usually people look down upon or don’t want to talk about it,” Varma continues, “Even today, despite the Supreme Court repealing section 377, nearly four and a half years back, I don’t think people are willing to talk about it. I have rarely heard people discuss it in public. And when you are forcing it to be put out in the public, everybody’s antenna just goes up.”
The filmmaker admits that he was disappointed to see it continues to happen even today.
“When it comes to my film, we had to find a middle path of not having the themes imposed on the posters and stuff, and the audience discovering about it when they step into the theatre. So, the fight continues. The corporate is more sensitive to public sentiment. Nobody knows how the public will actually react, but they feel that they might feel embarrassed or distasteful,” says the director.
But that is not stopping him to explore varied subjects from lesbian themes to Telugu web series Dhahanam, starring Isha Koppikar, about revenge set against the backdrop of a Naxalite region. “I wanted to talk about the crimes in the interior region of Andhra Pradesh, but something which comes with a wild west vibe, and that is something I intended to capture,” says the filmmaker, who is known for helming Satya, Kaun?, Company, Bhoot and Sarkar 3.
In fact, the web series also marked his OTT debut, which Varma asserts signals the growth of regional content in the domain.
“The first ever demonstration of this was Narcos. The story was shot in Spanish, belonging to Mexico, which probably half the world didn’t even know exists. Now, it is seen in almost every country in the whole world. Now, it is more about characters and their conflicts. It doesn’t make a difference from which language, or region they come from. Every language can reach everywhere, which can be seen with the popularity of Korean content today,” he ends.