Nayandeep Rakshit (DNA; July 2, 2017)

After Fawad Khan’s role in Kapoor & Sons and Randeep Hooda’s in Bombay Talkies before that, it may seem like Bollywood has become more receptive to playing homosexuals on screen. However, director Onir staunchly disagrees that much has changed since he made My Brother... Nikhil in 2005. “These films are too few to even count. Bollywood still portrays the LGBT community in the same stereotypical way, and that’s disgusting. It’s so regressive,” says Onir who has no qualms about being open about his sexual preference, and has been fighting to remove the social stigma attached with the LGBT community.

The director, whose Shab with Raveena Tandon will soon release, admits that he went through the same wringer as the makers of Kapoor & Sons did to cast for the role of Rahul Kapoor in the film. Before Fawad was finalised, the part was turned down by as many as six A-listers, including Hrithik Roshan, Saif Ali Khan, and Farhan Akhtar. “For Purab Kohli’s role in My Brother Nikhil, I had approached a few A-list stars who I don’t wish to name. They blatantly refused to play a gay character on screen. This has happened to me, too, so I know. There are very few actors who would be willing to portray such characters on screen. I have immense respect for them. But that again is a rare quality,” he signs off.