Actress Nandita Das optimistic about Section 377 battle in India
Actress Nandita Das, who believes her 1996 film ‘Fire’ showcasing homosexuality planted the seed for change towards the LGBT community, says the country is currently “back to square one” as far as the Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code is concerned. However, she is “optimistic” regarding a positive move.
The Delhi High Court had decriminalised homosexuality in 2009, but the Supreme Court overturned it when it upheld Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code in 2013 and refused to read it down to exclude same-sex relationships between consenting adults, calling the LGBT community “miniscule”. Talking about it, Nandita, who’s a social activist too, said: “The fact that Section 377 is being discussed and that Delhi High Court wanted to repeal it… for all that, ‘Fire’ did somewhere plant the seed.”
“Our country is such a country of contradiction, we take two steps forward and sometimes three steps backwards. So, when the Delhi High Court ruling happened, we celebrated, and the Supreme Court, which has otherwise given such landmark decisions, passed the buck on to parliament and we’re in a way back to square one,” she said.
“It’s a tough battle, but I’m an optimist. You can see that slowly people are talking about it and making it more mainstream it more.” The actress-director, who was cast in Deepa Mehta’s ‘Fire’ with Shabana Azmi, spoke at a panel discussion for the Best Of Kashish festival, which is set to be held in May.
Referring to the issues with the censor board due to same-sex content and other issues faced by some filmmakers, she said: “… I’m not sure if we’re mature. In many ways, ‘Fire’ was a landmark film because there was not a single cut. Even after the attacks, when it was given back to the censor board, they upheld their verdict.”