Homoerotic undertones in Rajamouli’s RRR and outrage over Resul Pookutty’s comment – ​​Opinion News, Firstpost


It was in June (which is ironically Pride month) that the news started to leak that a certain section of the western public felt that RRR – which shows Jr NTR and Ram Charan bonding over friendship and act as rebels against the British government, is “comforting”. cheerful’.

It won’t be an exaggeration to say that there are only a few films in the Indian film industry that have had an impact quite like Rajamouli’s. RRR. From the gripping storyline, stunning visuals, jaw-dropping action sequences to stellar performances from Southern megastars Jr NTR and Ram Charan – RRR became a force to be reckoned with, so much so that it also received praise from international critics and moviegoers. However, it was in June (which is ironically Pride month) that news began to leak that a certain portion of the western public felt that the story – which shows that Jr NTR and Ram Charan befriend and act as rebels against the government is ‘warmly gay’. Press Agency ANI first broke the news with a compilation of tweets from Western audiences who had watched the director of Rajamouli. That’s not all – some have gone so far as to compare the film to the hit Netflix show Heart stroke who took the world by storm this year for his portrayal of gay romance. One user tweeted, “RRR is about two gay boys in love.

Why did Western audiences think RRR was based on a gay romance?

To understand what made Western audiences think this way, we first need to understand the concept of heteronormativity which is basically an assumption that everyone – from real people to movie characters is straight and that sexual relationships and love can only exist between A man and a woman. In short, heteronormativity views heterosexuality as the default sexual orientation and the only normal and acceptable way to express romantic or sexual attraction. Needless to say, Indian films have not portrayed same-sex relationships with the kind of seriousness and nuance that some Western films have. This is mainly because Indian society is very heteronormative and patriarchal in nature. Although there have been a few movies that have done a good job of portraying gay romance, most of them, like Dostana caricature homosexual characters and play on stereotypes.

As a result, queer viewers living in India, a largely heteronormative country, have little literature or film that depicts gay romance because of which they start watching movies with a queer lens. You could say – it’s akin to finding homosexuality where there is none. However, the queer community, which has been marginalized for centuries, has had no way to express their sexuality. As a result, they tend to see seemingly heteronormative situations for a straight person with a weird look. This probably explains why some of the western audience could sense the homoerotic undertones in Jr NTR and Ram Charan’s seemingly heteronormative bromance.

Resul Pookutty and the ‘Gay Story’ Commentary

Resul Pookutty is an Oscar-winning sound designer who won an Oscar for Danny Boyle’s film Slumdog Millionaire in 2009. When actor-writer Munish Bharadwaj called RRR ‘garbage’ in a tweet, Resul wrote ‘gay love story’ in the comments and followed it with another comment: ‘…and Alia is a prop in this movie…(sic).’ The comment was not only misogynistic because it reduced Alia, an accomplished actress in her own right, to an ‘prop’ thus objectifying her, but it also insinuated that Ram Charan and Jr NTR were gay in a way. who wanted to be condescending. Twitter was quick to go to school Pookutty and call out him for being homophobic in droves, with some even tagging the Academy and asking them to take back his Oscar.

Shobu Yarlagadda Pookutty Schools

Baahubali Producer Shobu Yarlagadda took to Twitter the following day to slam Pookutty for his tone-deaf and inappropriate comments. “I don’t think @RRRMovie is a gay love story as you say, but even if it was, is a ‘gay love story’ a bad thing? How do you justify its use? Extremely disappointed that someone of your accomplishments could stoop so low! (sic),” he wrote. Pookutty was quick to rewind and said, “I totally agree. nothing wrong even if it was. I just quoted2 my frnd,d jokes that already exist in the public domain and nothing else. There’s no downside factor in any of this. I rest my case here.

Is India ready for a gay romance?

If a film – where the writer didn’t even intend to make the main heroes a gay couple and only showed them as stereotypically masculine men – can attract a slew of homophobic comments, it goes without saying that it there would be major outrage if an Indian director or producer were to do a gay love story. India, indeed, is strongly heteronormative and the general public finds it difficult to accept that two men or two women (not counting non-binaries here) can have romantic inclinations for each other. The rampant homophobia and lack of laws for the protection of the LGBTQ+ community is proof enough that we have a long way to go before we accept homosexuality, let alone a movie about gay romance.

RRR is by no means a “gay love story” (in fact, it’s the most heteronormative film made in recent times). The fact that he still managed to receive homophobic criticism and comments only goes to show how the mere thought of two people being close to each other is unacceptable and a sacrilegious act in the world of ‘today. It also shows that we have a long way to go when it comes to normalizing homosexuality and fighting for the rights of the queer community.

Deepansh Duggal is an entertainment, pop culture and trending writer based in New Delhi. He specializes in opinion pieces based on socio-political and gender issues in the world of entertainment and showbiz. He also writes explainers and occasionally reviews shows in the OTT space. He tweets at @Deepansh75.

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