Veteran British actor Sir Ian McKellen reveals that the most diffcult phase of his life was when he had to remain in the closet and deal with his gay status.
McKellen is in India as part of "Shakespeare lives on Film", a global programme to celebrate the bard's works and
his influence on culture, education and society, coinciding with his 400th death anniversary.
Superstar Aamir Khan conducted a session with the 76-year-old actor last evening at the National Centre for
Performing Arts (NCPA) here as part of the programme, which has been brought to India by the MAMI Film Club in partnership with the British Council and the British Film Institute.
When asked about the roughest and most depressing phase of his life, the "Lord Of The Rings" star said, he hadn't faced difficult times in his professional life but admitted that in personal life it was being a homosexual in England that he found disturbing.
"One aspect which was difficult for me and it's a big part of my life, being a gay man in England. It was legal but
you had to be 21. It did inhibit me, if I had love scene with a girl as I couldn't fake it. I did try to avoid romantic parts," McKellen said here.
The 76-year old actor says he feared he would lose his female fans if he came out gay.
"The only worry was about losing female fan following. However, the same disappeared when there was no decline in fans mails from women," he added.
Narrating a story of a female fan, the award-winning actor said, "A female fan wrote citing her disappointment on
learning about (my) homosexual status as she fantasised (me) as a sex figure. But later on she realised that the actor was her fantasy and she could carry on with it unabated."
McKellen also took a jibe at Sec 377 of IPC, which criminalises homosexuality.
After Aamir pointed out that our laws were made by British, McKellen on a lighter note said, "We changed it long back in England but you are holding on to it to protect yourselves from western culture."
Besides Aamir, also present at the event were Kangana Ranaut, Sonam Kapoor, Kabir Khan, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Kiran Rao, Anupama Chopra and Rajkumar Rao among others.