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7 Desi Queer Films On OTT Platforms That Ameesha Patel Can Watch With Her Family

Dear Ameesha Patel, here's a gentle reminder that queer representation is neither explicit nor unsafe-for-kids.

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While promoting her upcoming film, Gadar 2, actor Ameesha Patel came under the scanner for her blatant homophobia.

Implying that Gadar 2 is "good, clean cinema", the actor went on to say, "OTT for sure doesn’t give you that. Because OTT is full of, homosexuality, gay-lesbianism… Scenes that you have to cover your kids’ eyes or actually put a child lock on your television".

While queer representation in Indian cinema is barely scratching the surface, positioning it as explicit or unsafe-for-kids is as inaccurate as it is detrimental.

It's crucial for children, specifically, to be exposed to queer storytelling; not just to normalise queerness in an Indian context but also to validate their own potential queer identity.

So, dear Ameesha Patel, here's a list of 7 "good, clean" desi queer films on OTT platforms that you can watch with your entire family:

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1. Geeli Pucchi (Ajeeb Dastaans)

Available on: Netflix

Neeraj Ghaywan's short film in Netflix's rousing anthology, Ajeeb Dastaans is a masterclass in portraying the messy intersections of caste and queerness. The short follows the budding relationship between Bharti (Konkona Sen Sharma), a Dalit lesbian and Priya (Aditi Rao Hydari), a married Brahmin woman.

Dear Ameesha Patel, here's a gentle reminder that queer representation is neither explicit nor unsafe-for-kids.

Konkona Sen Sharma and Aditi Rao Hydari in Geeli Puchhi

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

While Bharti fights for her place in a regressively casteist society, Priya struggles to fit into the constraints of a heterosexual marriage. The heart-wrenching ending does an exceptional job in highlighting the nuances of heteronormativity and casteism.

2. Maja Ma

Available on: Prime Video

Directed by Anand Tiwari, it's a delight that Prime Video's first Hindi original is an offbeat queer tale. Maja Ma revolves around Pallavi (Madhuri Dixit), a quintessential Gujarati housewife who's adored by everyone...until she's outed as a lesbian. Although tardy dialogues and crass humour overpower the film's authenticity, centering a closeted mother's struggles in a mainstream, formulaic Bollywood film deserves credit.

Dear Ameesha Patel, here's a gentle reminder that queer representation is neither explicit nor unsafe-for-kids.

Madhuri Dixit, Ritwik Bhowmik and Srishti Shrivastava in Maja Ma

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

Despite the largely unexplored nuances of queerness, Maja Ma's messaging is heartfelt. The film not only highlights how the patriarchy deprives women of their agency but also directly challenges the claim that anything remotely queer must be sexually explicit.

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3. Badhaai Do

Available on: Netflix

Harshvardhan Kulkarni's Badhaai Do is possibly the best that mainstream Bollywood has had to offer yet. Revolving around a marriage of convenience between a gay police officer, Shardul (Rajkumar Rao) and a lesbian PE teacher, Sumi (Bhumi Pednekar), the desi humour makes for a perfect family watch.

Dear Ameesha Patel, here's a gentle reminder that queer representation is neither explicit nor unsafe-for-kids.

Rajkumar Rao and Bhumi Pednekar in Badhaai Do

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

From sensitive depictions of queer relationships (special mention: Chum Darang's electric screen presence and her sizzling chemistry with Bhumi) to a nuanced portrayal of the insecurities that plague closeted queer folks, Badhaai Do is deftly earnest.

4. Memories In March

Available on: Prime Video

Written by the late Rituparno Ghosh, one of the most eminent filmmakers and queer voices of India, Sanjoy Nag made his directorial debut with Memories In March. Following a man's sudden demise, his mother (Deepti Naval) discovers that her son was gay. The film explores the unlikely friendship she forms with her son's lover, Arnab (Rituparno Ghosh) as both of them mourn Siddhartha's death.

Dear Ameesha Patel, here's a gentle reminder that queer representation is neither explicit nor unsafe-for-kids.

Rituparno Ghosh and Deepti Naval in Memories In March

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

Memories In March holds up a sublime portrait of queerness, grief and familial acceptance. The masterful use of silence in the film speaks volumes, and stellar performances by the cast makes it an unforgettable watch.

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5. She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not (Feels Like Ishq)

Available on: Netflix

A part of Netflix's first-ever romance anthology, Feels Like Ishq, director Danish Aslam and writer Sulagna Chatterjee helm a light-hearted office romance between a feisty, openly queer Tarasha (Saba Azad) and a timid, closeted Muskaan (Sanjeeta Bhattacharya). The portrayal of their blossoming liaison may be marked by simplicity and innocence, but the short also touches on sensitive issues like anxiety and abuse in queer relationships.

Dear Ameesha Patel, here's a gentle reminder that queer representation is neither explicit nor unsafe-for-kids.

Sanjeeta Bhattacharya and Saba Azad in She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

The best part? Both the script and the set design are sprinkled with illicit queer references and inside jokes, making for an unabashedly authentic representation of bisexuality.

6. Kapoor & Sons

Available on: Prime Video

Queerness might not be the primary focus in Shakun Batra's quirky take on dysfunctional families, but Kapoor & Sons enjoys a spot in this list for precisely that reason. Amidst the chaos, comedy and drama unfurling in the Kapoor household as the patriarch (Rishi Kapoor) celebrates his 90th birthday, the queer narrative sneaks up on you when you least expect it.

Dear Ameesha Patel, here's a gentle reminder that queer representation is neither explicit nor unsafe-for-kids.

Alia Bhatt and Fawad Khan in Kapoor & Sons

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

Fawad Khan plays Rahul, the 'adarsh beta' who tries his best to hide his homosexuality from his family. Khan's portrayal of a gay man is devoid of the crass stereotypes peddled by Bollywood (think Rishi Kapoor from Student Of The Year), making for a refreshing family watch.

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7. Thangam (Paava Kadhaigal)

Available on: Netflix

With anthologies slowly becoming Netflix's choicest offering, Paava Kadhaigal is the OTT platform's first Tamil anthology. Its first short, Thangam, directed by Sudha Kongara revolves around Sathaar (Kalidas Jayaram) a lively transgender woman stuck in a love triangle between her sister and her best friend, Saravanan (Shanthanu Bhagyaraj).

Dear Ameesha Patel, here's a gentle reminder that queer representation is neither explicit nor unsafe-for-kids.

Bhavani Sre, Kalidas Jayaram and Shanthanu Bhagyaraj in Thangam

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

While the regular transphobia faced by Sathaar is unflinchingly depicted, scenes of queer joy attempt to strike a sublime balance. Although the film was rightfully criticised for casting a cisgender male actor for the role of a trans woman, Thangam is possibly the most unadulterated tale of unrequited love.

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