Bollywood braves female love triangle

'Girl' explores topic which has led to heated protests

NEW DELHI — Bollywood producer Harry Baweja is streteching the limits of Indian tolerance with his upcoming lesbian-themed movie. Many consider the subject taboo in India, where sex and sexuality are not openly discussed.

The film, “Girl Friend,” departs from the usual two-women-in-love-with-one-man scenario of usual Bollywood flicks to portray a triangle in which a woman who is involved in a relationship with an obsessive girlfriend falls in love with a man.

Bollywood actresses Amrita Rao and Isha Koppikar have been cast in the roles of the two women, Baweja told the Hindustan Times newspaper.

“It’s happening in everyday life,” he said when asked if Indian audiences were ready for such a bold film. “This is a part, an aspect of our lives, the world we live in. So it’s time it came into the open.”

In 1998, Hindu conservatives went on the rampage against the Hindi-language film “Fire”, which featured a lesbian romance, attacking cinema theaters where the movie was being screened.

“Fire” told the story of a woman, played by actress Shabana Azmi, who leaves her celibate husband for her sister-in-law, who is also unhappily married.

Baweja said his film was not designed to titillate, saying he was “drawing the line at a certain point as far as the physical aspect of the relationship goes.”

The story, he said, would revolve around “the intimate bonding between two young working women and how one of them gets possessive when the other falls in love with a young man.”

He dismissed concerns that Indian audiences would reject the movie, the way they cold-shouldered some recent movies on sensitive subjects such as male strippers and adultery.

“It all depends on how aesthetically you approach the story, how subtly you depict a scene and convey a message,” he said.

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