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Soon, Akshay Kumar will be seen essaying the role of a transgender in “Laxmmi Bomb”. Sonam Kapoor has explored the complexities of being a lesbian in Indian society in last year’s “Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga”, while Manoj Bajpayee (in “Aligarh”) and Pakistani actor Fawad Khan (“Kapoor and Sons”) have played gay characters in Hindi films. Bollywood projects have given the occasional voice to the LGBTQIA+ community, but is there enough queer representation?
Some feel there is a need for more authentic queer characters. Some feel the community needs to own the narrative of their stories. Some feel Bollywood needs to apologize for using the community as a “comical relief” for long — a stereotype which they “battle till today”.
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“If you really think of mainstream cinema, things have not really changed. I do not identify with the characters that are there in recent films depicting LGBTQI issues. I contradict the characters. There should be a normal way of looking at people in the community,” filmmaker Onir told IANS.
“People put in so much effort to say the right thing, to pass that thinking level like ‘Oh my god! This has to be done’. And that is why I keep saying that just like it is important that women start telling their story, it is important that the community starts telling their story,” Onir added and raised a question: “Why aren’t platforms making LGBTQI stories with LGBTQI filmmakers who are out and proud. How can someone else be telling my story what I had to say?”
Popular drag queen Zeeshan Ali feels “we have just scratched the surface of the LGBTQIA+ with masculine-looking gay men or hyper-feminine lesbians in romantic comedies”.
“The representation of the LGBTQIA+ community has changed in the industry to quite an extent, as compared to 10 to15 years ago. But that’s not enough. It’s still not as authentic as it needs to be,” Zeeshan said.
“Right now we have scratched the surface of the LGBTQIA+ with masculine-looking gay men or hyper-feminine lesbians, in romantic comedies. I’m totally here for a queer rom-com but I’m not okay with the typical representation. Very rare mainstream films like ‘Aligarh’ actually delve deep into the stigmas faced by the community and I applaud the sincerity of their storytelling. We need scripts with a more authentic queer character portrayal. I also feel Bollywood as a whole needs to apologize to Bobby Darling specifically, transwomen, the ‘Hijra’ community and effeminate men, as their ‘comical relief’ which did get us laughs, had a strong negative effect on the queer community which we still battle till today,” added Zeeshan, who was part of Vh1 India’s recent virtual pride parade.
Harish Iyer, who engages in advocacy for a number of causes, including promoting the rights of the LGBT community, feels there are “very few movies related to the LGBTQI community”.
“We are almost seven to 10 percent of the population, which is not heterosexual and cisgender. And we don’t have seven or 10 percent — or even two or three percent — of movies that are focused on LGBTQI issues. And, when I say focused on LGBTQI issues, I don’t mean from scene 1 to scene 365 there should be only LGBTQIA things, but we are not the main characters or not even part of the subplot. We are nowhere in the scene. So, we are actually celebrating very little that we get, but the truth is we need to have more representation,” Iyer said.
Maya the Drag Queen mentioned: “I still feel the LGBTQIA+ community is still used as a trend and not as a way to give voice to the community.”
In Bollywood, there was a time when gay characters were mocked at, stereotyped or used as comic relief with big entertainers like “Dostana”, “Bol Bachchan”, “Veere Di Wedding” and “Partner” leading the list of examples. But things have changed since then.
If there is a story of a professor who was fired for having an affair with a man in Manoj Bajpayee’s “Aligarh”, there is Pakistani actor Fawad Khan’s portrayal of a man opening about his sexual orientation to his family and finding acceptance in “Kapoor and Sons (Since 1921)”.
The Sonam Kapoor-starrer lesbian drama “Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga” was touted as pathbreaking. Not to forget films like “Fire”, “My Brother Nikhil”, “Margarita With A Straw”, “Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd.” or sub-plots in “Fashion”, “Heroine” and “Dishoom”.
Director Onir however feels “queer visibility” is still missing.
“We are constantly talking about the industry, how it is willing to put out a woman’s perspective. I think platforms, the production, and authors who are looking at the essence of legitimizing the LGBTQI community through cinema, are walking on an old road of doing something related to us. One of the movies, ‘Boy Erased’ shook me up and I could relate it to an incident that happened recently, where a girl committed suicide because there was immense pressure from her family that there is something wrong with her. It is high time that people need to understand that,” he added.
Onir was referring to the 2018 film “Boy Erased”, aired in India on Sony PIX HD. It follows the life of the son of Baptist parents who are forced to take part in a gay conversion therapy program.
Anwesh Sahoo, who was crowned Mr. Gay World India 2016, feels “we have moved into an era where we need more and more representation”.
“So there has to be more people from the queer community which have to be shown. I think Faraz Arif Ansari is doing ‘Sheer Khurma’ right now, where he is talking about non-binary individuals, and I think that will be an incredible film. Even in the recent films that have come out, I would really like to see roles where people like us are doing dignified jobs and is a strong will person. In terms of that we have a long way to go,” Sahoo said.
Drag Queen Alex Mathew noted that there is a need to “put more queer stories out there”.
“If you see there are a lot more queer stories coming out. Put real people for queer roles,” Mathew said.
To this, Ma Faiza added: “I’d like to see more storylines with queer characters, where their sexuality becomes irrelevant and they have meatier roles with depth other than their sexual preference and their sexual path. It would be good to see characters who were open and queer and accepting of themselves but also much more than their sexual identity.”
Drag queen Prateek Sachdeva, aka Betta Naan Stop, is also pitching for more “trans inclusion”.
“So far the trans representation is stuck to sex workers or beggars at the signal. It’s totally not done where there are so many beautiful stories and faces to be showcased in all aspects of life. There should be diversification,” added Sachdeva, who was part of Vh1 India’s recent virtual pride parade.
Onir explained: “I don’t want anyone else to be talking about me. I want out and proud people, not the ones who are scared of being who they are. I’ve had directors telling me, ‘Oh Onir! We are doing your kind of story’. Don’t do it. If you think it is my kind of film and you cannot resonate then don’t do it,” he added. (IANS)
Boredom seems to be an unavoidable aspect of existence. Sure, you can pass the time on social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter when you’re bored but you can only browse for so long before things become monotonous and uninteresting. The internet has revolutionized the world in various ways, be it politics, shopping, or journalism, to name a few. It has also completely redefined how individuals spend their time.
If there is ever a point when the internet is the most beneficial, it’s for curing boredom. Internet is vast and has dozens of websites that may be used to break the monotony.
The internet is vast and has dozens of websites that may be used to break the monotony. | Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash
Take a look at these entertaining time-killing websites and put an end to boredom! Here’s the ultimate list of entertaining websites, ranging from intriguing, amusing, and unexpected time-wasters to strange websites to visit while bored.
#1 Find the Invisible Cow: Make sure to keep your volume high for this fun game. Hover your cursor over the screen as you hear the sounds changing their intensity. Keep searching for the cow and click when you think it’s there!
Keep searching for the cow and click when you think it’s there! | Scriptist
#2 Hacker Typer: Do you want to feel like one of those awesome hackers from a Bollywood film? Simply go to this website and smash the keys! As you pretend to be a spy hacking into some vital mainframe, this will thrill and entertain you.
Simply go to this website and smash the keys! | HackerTyper
#3 Wayback Machine: Take a look at some of your favourite websites before they were completely revamped with the help of this website. You only need to enter a URL and select a date. The Wayback Machine will then display a picture of the website from the specific day you’ve chosen.
Take a look at some of your favourite websites before they were completely revamped with the help of this website. | WaybackMachine
#4 The Useless Web: You go to this website, click a large button, and then get sent to a random website on the internet. You may be given a simple game to play, a rain of corn dogs, an endless horse, or you may witness a guy being smacked with an eel.
You go to this website, click a large button, and then get sent to a random website on the internet. | Tim Holma
#5 Pointer Pointer: To begin, move your cursor across the desktop, then wait 3 seconds for a picture of someone, object, or a group of people to emerge on your screen, pointing right at your cursor.
Move your cursor across the desktop and wait for a picture of someone, object, or a group of someone’s to emerge on your screen, pointing right at your cursor. | Pointer Pointer
So there you have it, five websites to cure your boredom from the depths of the internet.
(Keywords: Pointer Pointer, The Useless Web, Hacker Typer, Hacker Typer, Find the Invisible Cow, internet, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, social media, Boredom, Websites)
In a global-first move, ride-hailing major Uber and Meta-owned messaging platform WhatsApp on Thursday announced that people in India can now book an Uber ride via the company's official WhatsApp chatbot. The service is being rolled out on a pilot basis in Lucknow first, and will soon be expanded to other cities in the country.
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"We want to make it as easy as possible for all Indians to take an Uber trip. We are thrilled at this global-first integration for Uber, and look forward to rolling it out across India," said Nandini Maheshwari, Senior Director, Business Development, Uber APAC.
Built on WhatsApp Business Platform, the partnership will expand access to Uber's mobility services in one of the company's largest international markets.
Also Read : How to get an internship under Uber India
Currently, the option to book a ride via WhatsApp will only be available in English but it will be expanded to other Indian languages soon. "The Uber experience on WhatsApp is simple, familiar, and relatable for users and has the potential to accelerate adoption of Uber with a new category of riders in India," said Abhijit Bose, Head of WhatsApp India.
With this integration, riders will no longer need to download or use the Uber app. WhatsApp users can book an Uber ride through three simple ways: messaging to Uber's business account number; scanning a QR code; or clicking a link directly to open an Uber WhatsApp chat.
Built on WhatsApp Business Platform, the partnership will expand access to Uber's mobility services in one of the company's largest international markets.Unsplash
They will be asked to provide pickup and drop off locations. Users will receive upfront fare information and the driver's expected time of arrival. "Riders get the same safety features and insurance protections as those who book trips via the Uber app directly," the company said.
They will be informed of the name of the driver and license plate of the driver on booking; be able to track the location of the driver en route to the pickup point and be able to speak to the driver anonymously using a masked number.
If the user selects the "emergency" option while on the trip, they will receive an inbound call from Uber's customer support team. Uber riders will also have access to its safety line number to call, if needed, until 30 mins after the trip ends. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : WhatsApp, Uber, India, Lucknow, languages, rider, driver, cab, booking.)
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