In a recent promotional interview for her upcoming film Gadar 2, actor Ameesha Patel blatantly made homophobic comments while discussing whether the content on OTT platforms was too explicit for Indian society.
Patel stated that people were waiting for "good and clean" cinemas where grandparents and grandchildren could sit and watch it together. She further went on to critically point out the increasing presence of "homosexuality and gay lesbianism" content on OTT and explained how parents have to "cover their child’s eyes" or "put a parental lock on devices" because it’s something parents don’t want their children to watch.
Ameesha Patel On Homosexuality
It's ironic that Patel herself has performed intimate scenes in a children’s film Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic featuring Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukerji. So how can she point out that the content available on OTT is inappropriate for children? If she was so concerned about the kind of content that children consume from media, why did she choose to perform sexually explicit scenes in a children’s film?
It's shocking to hear a celebrity flatly express homophobic views on a public platform, especially when the country is debating the legalisation of homosexual marriages.
It’s been five years since India legalised homosexuality, and here she is stating how problematic featuring gay and lesbian relationships on an OTT platform is. It’s disheartening to see celebrities like her spreading homophobic views into society while life for queer people continues to remain a challenge.
Given that celebrities are in a position to influence people, why can’t they use that power to create a progressive and inclusive society? Or can’t they at least refrain from doing further damage by adding their homophobic views?
We don’t have an inclusive academic syllabus that teaches our children about various sexual orientations and gender identities. We don’t have proper sex education in schools. While it’s undeniable that certain contents are strictly restricted to adults, romance and homosexual relationships aren’t bad things for children to watch. In fact, these are things that need to be normal conversations in a family so that children are raised in a conscious and safe environment.
How About Using OTT Content As Healthy Conversation Starters?
Why do we feel it is necessary to stigmatise homosexual relationships? Why aren’t we thinking about making children aware of relationships, sex, sexuality, gender identity, etc. so that they don’t have to go through a confused adolescent phase? Only when they are confused and don’t receive the right information from safe spaces such as families and schools do children rely on sources on the internet, which could potentially be a threat.
Instead of viewing homosexual content on OTT as detrimental to children, why can’t families take it as an opportunity to educate their children on the same? I’m a parent too, so I staunchly believe that we have a responsibility to empower our children to embrace their true selves and respect fellow human beings for who they are.
With regard to romance, children do need to witness a decent level of romance with adult supervision to know what it is and appease their curious little brains. Isn’t it better if parents teach them age-appropriate stuff rather than letting them learn from random sources? Is society ever going to realise that it's abusive relationships that should be kept away from children, not appropriate levels of romance?
Homophobic comments coming from people of the parents’ or grandparents’ generation are at least expected given the society they were raised in and the exposure they had. But this comment coming from a female actor in her mid-40s is completely unacceptable considering how misleading it could be in society.
People don’t seem to have a problem with sexualising and objectifying women, inflicting violence upon them, ill-treating minority communities, etc., but consensual romance and homosexual content are where they get offended? What kind of regressive society are we living in? It’s halfway through 2023; when are we going to wake up? This kind of remark coming from a female celebrity makes it much worse than it is.
Views expressed by the author are their own