In India the art of Drag has always been a front face to entertainment and films and movies have used the concept of drag to connect to the audience. From the recent situation of Ayushman Kurrana dressing in drag for the movie Dream Girl to Ritesh Deshmukh’s Extraverted performance in Apna Sapna Money Money, Drag has always been in Bollywood movies. Even the three Khans did a small role in drag such as Shahrukh khan in Duplicate, Aamir Khan in Baazi and Salman in Jaaneman. Some performances though being a full length the content makes it a bit affable to be drag. Like Govinda in Aunty No. 1 and Rajendra Prasad in Madam are two movies where drag is there, but it goes way out to be made for comic relief and less of storytelling.
As movies have always been inspiration and motivation for any art form, Drag Vanti picks some classic Indian movies from all languages which every drag queen should watch. These movies are majorly into artistic approach where they tell the story and struggle which is also with a insights of the sense to be a proud drag queen.
Natarang, also spelled Natrang (Marathi: नटरंग, an ornamental word for "artist", especially a theatre artist), is a 2010 Indian Marathi film directed by debutant Ravi Jadhav and starring Atul Kulkarni and Sonalee Kulkarni. composer duo Ajay−Atul composed the original score and songs of the film.
Based on Natarang, 1978 Marathi novel by Dr. Anand Yadav, the film depicts the journey of a young artiste in overcoming hurdles in the form of family, friends, society and to finally realise the unthinkable dream. Set in the 1970s, in the backdrop of a village in Maharashtra, Natarang highlights the emotions related to gender bias and the sacrifices of an artiste for the love of his art. The film is a display of unvantrao Kagalkar aka 'Guna' (Atul Kulkarni), a poor village labourer, nurtures an obsession for Tamasha - a popular theatrical folk art form of Maharashtra. Unforeseen circumstances lead him to lose his job as labourer and lands him in situation where he sets up a theatre company along with his friend and mentor Pandoba (Kishor Kadam). Guna is convinced that his troupe cannot take off unless it has a female dancer. After painstaking search, Pandoba finds Naina (Sonalee Kulkarni), the daughter of his former lover Yamunabai (Priya Berde), who is willing to dance for the company on the condition that it has a "Nachya", a "pansy" character, a man who acts in an effeminate manner. As no one is willing to take up the role, due to the eunuch taboo, Guna takes it upon himself to play the character. The strongly built Guna takes up the challenge of doing the role due to his passion for the art.
The Pink Mirror, the Indian release title Gulabi Aaina is an Indian film drama produced and directed by Sridhar Rangayan. Said to be the first Indian film to comprehensively focus on Indian transsexuals with the entire story revolving around two transsexuals and a gay teenager's attempts to seduce a man – Samir (Rufy Baqal). The film explores the taboo subject of transsexuals in India which is still much misunderstood and ridiculed.
In 2003, the Central Board of Film Certification, the Indian Censor Board banned Rangayan's film on Indian transsexuals. The censor board cited that the film was 'vulgar and offensive'. The filmmaker appealed twice again unsuccessfully. The film still remains banned in India, but has screened at numerous festivals all over the world and won awards. The critics have applauded it for its 'sensitive and touching portrayal of marginalized community. The film centers around two drag performers: Bibbo, a Bollywood fashion designer, and Shabbo, a dancer, who have a strenuous and often volatile relationship with each other. Though they are known to quarrel often, they are always able to reconcile soon after an argument and prove to the other that they care about them.
Chachi 420 /Avvai Shanmughi
Chachi 420 (transl. The trickster aunt) is a 1997 Indian Hindi comedy film, co-written, produced and directed by Kamal Haasan. The film is a remake of the Tamil film Avvai Shanmughi (1996) which was inspired from the Hollywood film Mrs. Doubtfire (1993). It was the first film directed by Kamal Haasan who also starred in the film playing double roles. The film also starred Tabu, Amrish Puri, Om Puri, Johnny Walker, Paresh Rawal, Rajendranath Zutshi, Ayesha Jhulka, Nassar and Fatima Sana Shaikh. In order to see his little girl more often, a divorcee disguises himself as an old lady and gets a job as his own daughter's caretaker. It tells the story of a divorcee Pandian (Kamal Haasan), a doting father who masquerades as a nanny to look after his daughter. The rest follows a brilliant mix of slapstick humour and an emotional drama that became a money spinner at the box-office. Haasan was appreciated by critics for a dignified portrayal of the lady character. After the success, the film was remade in Hindi as ‘Chachi 420’, which has earned a cult following over the years.
Arekti Premer Golpo
Arekti Premer Golpo (Bengali: আরেকটি প্রেমের গল্প; English: Just Another Love Story) is a 2010 Indian drama film directed by Bengali filmmaker Kaushik Ganguly, written by Kaushik Ganguly. It stars Rituparno Ghosh and Indraneil Sengupta, with Ghosh playing a gay filmmaker. It is the first film on homosexuality to be shot after the Delhi High Court struck down portions of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code in July 2009 as unconstitutional with respect to gay sex (in a decision overturned by the Supreme Court of India in 2013). The film premiered at the 60th Berlin Film Festival in 2010. The movie is based on the famous drag personality of theater Chapal Bahadur and how the protagonist associates themselves with the character of Chapal Rani.
Sound of Heaven: The Story of Balgandharva
Balgandharva is a biographical Marathi film on one of the Marathi singers and stage actors Narayan Shripad Rajhans, famously known as Bal Gandharva (Bal=child + Gandharva=Singer of Heaven). The name was bestowed to Narayan by Lokmanya Tilak after listening to his public performance in Pune while he was very young. The protagonist is a person who dressing up in drag as a part of his Nataks.
The film is directed by Ravi Jadhav, whose debutant film Natarang won critical acclaims as well as good box office report. The film is produced by Nitin Chandrakant Desai, the National Award-winning Art Director, under the banner of Iconic Chandrakant Productions Pvt. Ltd.
And here is a bonus, though this movie is not based on Drag but has a wonderful portrayal of a sensitive character of a drag performer which runs in parallel.
Pariyerum Perumal (transl. Horse mounting deity) is a 2018 Indian Tamil language drama film produced by Pa. Ranjith under his production banner Neelam Productions and directed by his assistant Mari Selvaraj, making his directorial debut. The film stars Kathir and Anandhi in the leading roles with Yogi Babu in a supporting role. The film features music composed by Santhosh Narayanan. with cinematography handled by Sridhar, and edited by Selva R. K. It was released on 28 September 2018, to critical acclaim and received many awards. The movie has a strong character of Folk Dancer who dresses in drag who is the father of the protagonist and showcases the caste and gender bullying aspects of men who perform in drag and stigma associated with it.
So do watch these films and let us know if we missed anything which is in your mind. Also share it with your friends and drag folx.