“In India, when the release of a film is accompanied by riots, it’s not so much a spontaneous measure of outrage as it is the hallmark of certain groups’ official disfavor–like Ebert and Roeper’s ‘two thumbs down,’ only rowdier. So when the opening of Karan Razdan’s Girlfriend this June was met with two days of rioting in five Indian cities, with windows smashed, cinemas forcibly closed, and billboards set afire by angry mobs of young men in the street, it was only the Hindu traditionalist vigilantes of the Shiv Sena handing in their verdict. It was not, by any stretch, a full showing of the spectrum of people in India who hate this film.
Girlfriend is Bollywood’s first extended foray into Sapphic eroticism (alas, to call it the industry’s first film ‘about lesbianism’ would be too generous). It is also a movie that has managed to offend India’s fledgling lesbian and gay community every bit as deeply as it offends the Hindu right–making these two factions strange bedfellows.”
More here from The New Republic (free registration required).