Cœur d’Orient in July: A list of indian lesbian films

A list of four lesbian-themed bollywood movies and other mainstream indian films showing the life of women who love women, their social environment and some cultural elements of the country. The love stories chosen are explored subtextually as well as canonically.


Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga is a 2019 Indian Hindi-language coming-of-age romantic comedy-drama film directed by Shelly Chopra Dhar. The screenplay was written by Dhar and Gazal Dhaliwal, with the story inspired by the 1919 novel A Damsel in Distress by P. G. Wodehouse. This is the first Bollywood film to feature a lesbian relationship. Some love stories are not simple, Sweety’s is one such story. She has to contend with her over-enthusiastic family that wants to get her married, a young writer who is completely smitten by her, a secret that she harbours close to her heart and ultimately the truth that her true love might not find acceptance in her family and society. Resolving these issues proves hilarious, touching and life changing. Sweety and Kuhu are portrayed by Sonam Kapoor and Regina Cassandra.


Dedh Ishqiya is a 2014 Indian black comedy film directed by Abhishek Chaubey. Out from jail, Khalujaan a.k.a Iftekhar and Babban have stolen a necklace made of royal jewels and are on the run. They part ways and meet at the Majidabad palace, where Iftekhar is competing with Urdu poets to win the heart of the nawab’s widow Begum Para. Her quick-witted and mysterious friend and assistant Munniya slowly warms up to Babban and they together plot a kidnapping. Khalujaan and Babban, the two romantic thieves are back in Dedh Ishqiya, sequel to the acclaimed and successful Ishqiya with their tumultuous adventures. And this time love will take them through the Seven Stages of Love…


The Journey is a 2004 Malayalam feature film written, directed and produced by Ligy J. Pullappally, inspired both by her short film Uli and a true story of two lesbian lovers in the South Indian state of Kerala. In Sancharram, Kiran is mortified by her growing lesbian desire for the effervescent Delilah, in an idyllic Indian village where arranged marriage is the only acceptable form of coupling. The main protagonists are portrayed by Suhasini V. Nair and Shrruiti Menon.


Fire is a 1996 Indo-Canadian erotic romantic drama film written and directed by Deepa Mehta, starring Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das. It is the first installment of Mehta’s Elements trilogy; it is succeeded by Earth (1998) and Water (2005). The film is loosely based on Ismat Chughtai’s 1942 story, Lihaaf (The Quilt). It was one of the first mainstream Bollywood films to explicitly show homosexual relations. It tells the story of two women who are abandoned by their husbands, find love and solace in each other.

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