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Desi Dykes and Divas: Alternative Sexualities in Popular Indian Cinema



We're proud to present a lecture and film/video clip show by New
York film writers Gayatri Gopinath and Javid Syed.

Butch women, femme men, the transgendered, the cross-dressed,
women kissing women, men declaring their undying devotion for
each other: popular Indian cinema is a rich repository of queer
images, desires, and pleasures, offering tremendous potential
for queer readings and appropriations. Given that the Indian
film industry is the largest in the world, and that films
produced in Bombay and Madras find their way to South Asian
diasporic communities throughout the world, these films are
important sites of identification for South Asian queers. Indeed
stars like Helen Madhuri, Sri Devi and Rekha, from the sixties
to the present, have become queer icons for South Asians in
North America, the UK and the Caribbean. In this clip show and
presentation, Gayatri Gopinath and Javid Syed unabashedly
privilege a queer gaze in order to offer a brief but tantalizing
glimpse of what alternative sexualities look like in popular
Indian cinema.