The film Meghdhanushya – The Colour of Life had its grand premiere at the City Pulse theatre in Gandhinagar, Gujarat on April 25, 2013. It was an 11 am show, attended by over 450 people. The event was reported in an oddly titled newsreport, “First Gujarati Homosexuals Releases”.
But it wasn’t until Meghdhanushya was screened at the Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival in 2014 and found mention in a New York Times story that the film began to stir interest.
Meanwhile, the Gujarat government refused it a tax exemption certificate in 2013, a decision that the Gujarat High Court overruled the following year – only to have the Supreme Court stay the High Court order and push the hearing back to 2018.
KR Devmani’s film seeks inspiration from the life of Manvendra Singh Gohil, the self-styled “gay prince” of Rajpipla in Gujarat, who provides a commentary encouraging people to take pride in their orientation and not view it as an aberration.
Devmani does not want to further discuss the tax exemption issue following the Supreme Court’s decision. Instead, he is talking to a few independent theatres around the country to assess the possibilities of a release.
The film’s official website states that Meghdhanushya is the first Gujarati movie to depict a gay character as a hero. To make it safe for family viewing, the makers claim to have carefully avoided scenes of a sexual nature, focussing instead on “clean words, creativity and interest.”
What’s in the film, then? Turns out it examines homosexuality in “three stages” – childhood, youth, and old age. The depiction may be somewhat clichéd: for instance, Tanmay, the protagonist, is seen to exhibit “feminine” behaviour as a child. His parents consult a doctor, looking for a “cure” in vain.
When Tanmay grows up, their worries shift to his marriage. He is pressured and becomes a subject of mockery because of his “special” quality. Somewhat inevitably, he leaves home. Tanmay and his partner Aniket grow old together, adopting a child named Shlok who grows up to become a successful businessman. And when Shlok wants to marry his girlfriend Disha, the issue of a traditional family rears its head again. The Bollywood spirit can't really be kept away, can it?