Banned in India Since 2003, This LGBT Movie is Now Available on Netflix India

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The much acclaimed and award winning drama film, ‘The Pink Mirror’ (Gulabi Aaina), the first Indian film to comprehensively focus on transsexuals in India, is now available on Netflix for audiences  world over, including India.

Speaking about the film going live on Netflix, Sridhar Rangayan, the film’s director comments, “For this film to be made, the odds were against us. However, today marks a momentous occasion where the film is opening up to the world on one of the best platforms. This is where the second journey of the film starts, and I am very curious to see what path it carves for itself. Thank-you FilmKaravan for digitally distributing our labour of love.”

The film is also live on iTunes, Amazon and GooglePlay worldwide, excluding India.

In India where homosexuality is taboo, ‘The Pink Mirror’ (Gulabi Aaina), directed by filmmaker and gay activist Sridhar Rangayan depicts two Indian drag queens in a battle to woo a handsome hunk. In this battle of beauties, who will win? The campy and witty drag queens, or the shy and timid teenager? The film mixes typical Bollywood songs, dance and drama to explore other veiled issues related to the Indian gay community, including the ever-present threat of HIV/AIDS.

Made in 2002, the film has been a festival favourite, having screened at over 70 international festivals and bagging top honors along the way. The film has also become an invaluable asset to university libraries worldwide as a resource material on queer Asian cinema and gender studies.

The film is produced by Solaris Pictures, a production company dedicated to making and distributing LGBTQ films, whose latest film ‘Breaking Free’ won the National Award for Best Editing (non-fiction) in 2016. Producer and dialogue writer Saagar Gupta says, “Gulabi Aaina was conceived with a sincere intent to make people laugh with the drag queens rather than laughing at therm. It is truly an uplifting feeling that the film is now available on Netflix and people all over the world are laughing with our loving Shabbo and Bibbo, the two drag queens in the film.”

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Director Sridhar Rangayan with the lead actor Ramesh Menon and Edwin Fernandes

The film stars (late) Edwin Fernandes and Ramesh Menon as two drag queens Shabbo and Bibbo, and Rishi Raj as the gay teenager Mandy. While Edwin Fernandes passed away last year, the other two lead actors are thrilled with this news. “It was my first movie, the first time I faced a camera. It was a beautiful experience shooting for the first LGBT movie. I was disheartened as the censor did not pass the movie, though there was no vulgarity in the movie. It is a plain Bollywood style fun movie. It is one of the five movies banned in India. I’m very happy that all those who missed the movie can watch it on Netflix now. I was surprised when friends in India and abroad called to say that they saw the movie after so many years!” says Ramesh Menon.

“So honored that I was part of a film that was made with the intent of reaching out to all… something that is now truly possible through Netflix and other online movie platforms,” says Rishi Raj who is now a Stylist & Fashion Choreographer.

Parmesh Shahani, who has written about the film in his book Gay Bombay says, “Gulabi Aaina is one of the most significant LGBT films from India in the past 20 years. As India’s first film that dealt with the lives, desires, trials and tribulations of transsexuals, it offers us a glimpse into a formerly unseen universe. More than anything else it is a fabulous celebration – with song and dance and humour of the resilience and spirit of Indian queer lives. I can’t recommend it enough.”