Touching upon a sensitive yet important subject, Chennai-based independent filmmaker Lokesh is upbeat about his Hindi film My Son Is Gay. The 24-year-old’s first feature film which is still in production, stars Anupama Kumar, a noted Tamil actress, as the mother. As a sign of goodwill, the actress didn’t charge for her role, and the film itself is a crowd-funded project. All these factors combined make My Son is Gay a rather special one and the director cannot wait to release it.
“This film is about the relationship between a mother and her son. The mother is a widow and lives alone with the boy and is extremely attached to him. When the boy realises that he’s gay, he opens up to his mother about it and the film is about how she struggles to come to terms with that fact,” shares Lokesh about the film’s plot.
An avid supporter of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community, Lokesh was inspired to make this film after visiting a film festival in Bengaluru. “I attended the Bangalore Queer Film Festival, where I watched a lot of films on this subject and that inspired me to make a film of my own,” he shares.
Though this is his first feature, Lokesh has been involved in filmmaking through short films and documentaries.
“Earlier I made a short film on the LGBT community called You Are My Brother. I had made that film for the people of the community and I got a good response for it at various film festivals. I then decided to make My Son Is Gay to show that this could happen to anybody. This film is for everybody, not just members of the LGBT community,” iterates the youngster.
While he seems to have his supporters among the circle of short films and documentaries, his feature film is a whole other ball game.
Accepting that India is a largely conservative country and that people prefer watching commercial cinema featuring big stars and entertaining songs, he knows the real challenge of the film will be releasing it commercially.
“I will mainly focus on film festivals since through that I will be able to take the movie to different parts of the world. I want a global appeal to the film and I want everyone to understand what is happening in our country. In India, it is hard to find distributors as they would feel that people will oppose to this kind of a subject,” he points out.
However, the director, who says he always wanted to make meaningful cinema, believes he will not be completely disappointed by the response. “I always wanted to make films on a social cause and on a subject which can inspire people. The regular audiences may watch mainstream cinema, but every film has its own audience.”
Talking about his association with Anupama Kumar, who agreed to play the lead without charge, Lokesh says, “Initially I approached Anupama for a cameo in the film, but after hearing the script, she liked it so much that she said that she would do the lead role and would do it free. This was a big boost for us and gave us hope to complete this project,” he shares.
The film also features Rekhs, a leading subtitlist in the South, who has given subtitles for films like Endhiran in the past. “I’m very proud to say that Rekhs also will be doing subtitles for this movie, without charge. It is personally one of the most special things for me about this film.”
Having completed 25 per cent of the film with different sponsors, the filmmaker will complete the rest of the film via crowd-funding. “We are looking for crowd-funding platforms and so far the response has been great. Also, our trailer is in the making and we will release it online soon,” he shares.
Lokesh is hoping that My Son Is Gay will change the perception that people have towards homosexuals. “People today are slowly opening up and supporting this issue. Hopefully after watching this movie, people will realise that homosexuals are just normal people like everybody else,” he concludes optimistically.