In a historic judgement delivered on July 2, 2009, the Delhi High Court overturned the 150-year-old Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, legalising consensual homosexual activities between adults, pointing out that the section violates Article 14 of the Indian Constitution that states that every citizen has equal opportunity of life and is equal before the law.
From April 19, the Supreme Court will start testing the constitutional validity of Section 377 on the basis of this judgement. Director Onir’s film, I Am, co-produced by over 400 people from 35 cities across the world, opens on April 22. And one of the four stories, I Am Omar, has been partnered by the UNDP, Naaz Foundation (India) Trust and Humsafar Trust that wants to use it to advocate the human rights issue.
“Originally, our culture celebrated all forms of sexuality till Victorian prudes through this British colonial article made sex a dirty word and non-heterosexuals feel unwelcome. I Am Omar inspired by the real life stories, seeks to sensitise rather than senstationalise the issue,” reasons Onir, pointing out that the film has bagged the Endangered Award for Human Rights in New York and I Am Omar the award for Human Rights Advocacy at IFFK.
“It’s struck a chord during screenings abroad, with one man breaking down in New York.” Rahul Bose sports three different looks in the episode that spans an eight month period.
In the beginning, he’s clean-shaven and flamboyantly gay, working for a multi-national and secure in his own world. Then an incident changes him as a person, and after a month, when he returns from Australia, he’s in black, sporting a beard, quieter and more mature, aware of his political identity There’s yet another Rahul you see in Bengaluru, at the beginning of the episode, attempting to flirt with Abhimanyu. “He’s aged, his hairline is receding, he’s no longer brash but not beaten either, trying to forget what happened and move on,” says Onir.