|Bipasha makes the universal hand signal for "Keep your vagina away from me."|
Does Bollywood star Bipasha Basu think gay ladies are the worst? If her interview in the newest issue of Filmfare magazine (which is a guilty pleasure of mine the way US Weekly is to your mom) is any indication, she does. The interview (titled "I'm petrified of women hitting on me" no less) is a puff piece focusing on her romantic aspirations. It includes the question, "What if a woman were to hit on you?" which she answered this way:
They have hit on me. It's really embarrassing. I'm petrified of women hitting on me. It's happened to me twice. One was in love with me, a make-up artiste in New York, she gave me a Valentine diamond pendant. At first I thought she as my friend (sic) but then my agent told me the truth. I don't even like women touching me. I'm not the hugging type. I have a lot of girlfriends but I'm not the sticky type at all.
Even taking into account the possibility that she was misquoted, or that there might be something lost or erroneously added in the translation (I don't know if this interview was conducted in Hindi and translated into English), I'm a little disappointed in this answer. Mostly because now I have to rethink my plans of presenting her with a Valentine diamond pendant (thanks a lot, lesbo make-up artiste in New York!), but also because in the ten plus years that I've been in love with Bollywood, I've had to deal with the cognitive dissonance that comes from being a little gay Polish girl who loves Indian movies despite their lowest common denominator approach to gay visibility.
Interestingly, Filmi Girl linked to this article today which talks about the subject in more depth. The article focuses on Bol Bachchan, a new film that I haven't seen yet, but it is also hard on Dostana; a film I actually found endearing in a weird way. Sure it was "gay joke gag heavy," but I also thought there was way more warmth than maliciousness in the humor. Of course, I also went in expecting the worst, so that may have played a part in my favorable opinion. Plus, hello? The song "Desi Girl" rules.
To be fair, Bollywood as a whole frequently takes the lowest common denominator approach to virtually any demographic that will get a quick laugh. Fat people (Rajat Rawail in Bodyguard), South Indians (Shahrukh Khan in Ra.One), the Chinese (Saif Ali Khan in the 1994 hit Main Khiladi Tu Anari) just to name a few. If you can make an immature joke about it, consider it fair game. That's why I typically give the cheap shot gay jokes a pass. Sophomoric humor is a masala film staple. But it is a let down to know that big stars like Ms. Basu spend their days "petrified" at the thought that a woman might find them attractive. It's one thing to make immature jokes on the screen, it's another to be immature about the issue in real life.
But it's your loss Bipasha! I'm totally giving my Valentine diamond pendant to Anushka Sharma instead. An actress who, I can't help but notice, made the cover of the very same issue where your "don't touch me, ladies" article is buried on page 52.
I hope somebody besides a gay white girl from the U.S. takes her to task regarding these comments. Just remember Bipasha: Fame is fleeting, and fans can be fickle. It makes sense to be respectful of the people that made you famous in the first place. Even the gay ones.