“I can never love you or any other woman. I am in love with a man,”
This is a line spoken by India’s first gay soap opera character on the popular show “Maryada: Lekin Kab Tak” (Honour: But at What Cost?)
The show focuses on a patriarchal, conservative family in small-town northern India, the Jhaakar clan, whose eldest son Gaurav is now gay.
Screenwriter Damini Shetty has said that “We wanted to break new ground with ‘Maryada’ and talk about issues that people typically shy away from. It would have been easy to show a gay person in a hip urban set-up, but we wanted to show it in this context to show that it’s a reality in every society, in villages, in small towns, where people struggle, like Gaurav, to come out to their families.”
Actor Daksh Ajit Singh, who plays Gaurav, said he received a lot of fan mail from viewers who see their own lives reflected on the small-screen.
In addition to “Maryada”, supernatural teen drama “Pyaar Kii Ye Ek Kahaani” (This Is A Story About Love) featured a sub-plot involving a gay architect who developed a crush on his roommate.
in July 2011 Indian health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad referred to homosexuality as “unnatural” and “a disease which has come from other countries” during a televised speech.