The visual representation of queer Bollywood: Mistaken identities and misreadings in Dostana | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2055-2823
  • E-ISSN: 2055-2831



Tarun Mansukhani’s Dostana/Friendship (2008) is the first commercial popular feature film from India to exclusively engage in a queer dialogue using the device of ‘mistaken identity’ and ‘misreading’ (Ghosh 2007). This film provides a rich site for studying the traffic between discourses of sexuality, Indian-ness, diaspora and performativity. This article will address the queer representation of these fictional characters and queer framing, analysing the concepts of ‘dosti’ (friendship) and ‘yaarana’ (friendship) and the trope of the homo-social triangle in Hindi cinema. Indian popular cinema unlike European cinema has received quite scant attention within arts criticism and this article attempts to look at both the aesthetic underpinnings of a popular Indian cinema such as Dostana which is also ushering in a new queer cinematic aesthetic within the global cinema discourse. This article was presented at the Global Queer Cinema Network at the University of Sussex and has benefited from the advice and feedback of B. Ruby Rich, Deborah Shaw, John David Rhodes, Nguyen Hoang, Samar Habib, Cuneyt Cakirlar, Juan Suarez and the organizers Rosalind Galt and Karl Schoonover. Finally it has also benefited from intense discussions and debates with fellow Bollywood writer, Steven Baker.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): Bollywood; Hindi cinema; queer cinema; visual culture
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