At the recently concluded Kashish Queer Film Festival, the biggest draw was the premier of Bollywood’s upcoming mainstream queer film, Dunno Y… Na Jaane Kyun. Received positively by the audience, the film has been directed by debutant Sanjay Sharma. It stars newcomers Yuvraaj Parashar and Kapil Sharma, veteran actresses Zeenat Aman and Helen and Bengali actress Rituparna Sengupta.
Speaking about Dunno Y… Zeenat says, “When I was offered this film, I felt it was different and multi-layered with many shades. The film industry has changed in many ways in the recent years. Films like Dostana have depicted homosexuality. In my time, no film ventured into such themes. But the industry has since long accepted and loved many homosexual dress designers, hairdressers etc.
The film has a few bold scenes and for the first time in Bollywood, a proper kiss between the lead gay pair. The censor board is yet to view the film, but the makers are optimistic that the kissing scene will be approved. Kapil, who is also the writer of the film says, “The censor board has been pretty liberal lately. Besides, the kiss and the intimate scenes have been shot aesthetically, so there should not be any problem.”
When asked if they are anticipating any backlash or criticism from political or religious groups, Kapil says, “We did not think about such things while making the film. We have dealt with homosexuality in a mature manner. We think the Indian audience is ready for such films now. We hope it touches people’s hearts and entertains them.”
The dream team
The film also has a dance number by the cabaret queen, Helen. Talking about it, Kapil says, “Helenji immediately agreed to be a part of this film. She performed the entire dance in one go, even though she had a knee problem during the shoot. And of course, she choreographed her own sequence.”
Lata Mangeshkar has sung the title track of the film. “We went to Lataji with the script of our film. She agreed to sing as she was impressed with the story”, says the film’s director, Sanjay. Kapil says, “We did have some trouble finding funds. A lot of producers turned our film down, probably because the theme was sensitive.”The dialogues of the film are mostly in English since the film is targeted for the urban multiplex audience. However, there are plans to dub the film in Hindi too.
Dunno Y… Na Jaane Kyun is a film that deals with three unusual relationships that are taboo in Indian society. It is a contemporary take on what it means to be gay in our country. It shows an Anglo-Indian family that goes through many crises, from a father who deserts the family, to a son who comes to terms with his sexuality after his marriage.