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New web series highlights LGBT concerns in a lighter vein

When Delhi-based Suresh Chaudhry arrives in Mumbai to pursue his dream of becoming an actor, his worst nightmare comes alive. A homophobe, Chaudhry ends up sharing an apartment with his gay cousin, Rohit, who lives in with his boyfriend. What follows is a hilarious sequence of events and eventually, a change in perceptions. This forms the crux of a light-hearted web series, All About Section 377 to be launched on March 27 on a new YouTube channel, The Creative Gypsy. Comprising eight episodes (18 minutes each), the weekly web series has been helmed by Amit Khanna, who made his debut as a writer with Channel V’s fiction show, Roomies, and later, as a film director with Tutiya Dil (2012).

A still from the web series
A still from the web series

“Section 377 prevents an individual from marrying a person of the same sex. Did the lawmakers think about the lives, desires and feelings of gay individuals? The web series is a light and fun representation of the dilemmas faced by homosexuals, seen through the eyes of straight homophobic man. It’s about freedom of love and depicting it in its purest form,” says Khanna.

Amit Khanna (left) with Niranjan Iyengar in All About Section 377
Amit Khanna (left) with Niranjan Iyengar in All About Section 377

When we ask why he chose to make a web series instead of a short film, he replies, “I felt there was a lot to say here. Plus, web series is the current trend among the youth, who is my target audience.”

Casting calls
While casting for the straight character (played by Gulshan Nain) was easy, finding actors for the gay roles was challenging. Post several auditions (online and offline), the director zeroed in on a newbie, Ankit Bhatia to play the boyfriend’s part. However, Khanna took it upon himself to enact the gay cousin. “Rohit’s character is complex and layered. He is bitchy, emotional, loud and homely. It was important to depict the traits without going overboard. Many actors shied away from playing a gay character, so as the writer, I felt that I must cast myself. It scared me initially, but I managed with the team’s
support,” he says, adding that this role marks his acting debut. The series also features screenwriter-lyricist Niranjan Iyengar in a cameo.

A second season for the series is already in the pipeline. Meanwhile, the director is working on another web series, Meri Girlfriend Ka Boyfriend and two non-fiction series too.

To watch the trailer,
Log on to: www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKzhOfPzlFU

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