Gay Character In Hindi Soap?

Gay Character In Hindi Soap?
The scripting team of popular Hindi soap Maryada: Lekin Kab Tak? is pondering the consequences of revealing homosexuality as the reason for a key character shunning his new bride

It's the typical nine-member Jat family from Haryana, accustomed to the power and luxury that comes with the head of the family enjoying the plum posting of DSP. The Jakhar family that is at the centre of daily soap produced by Tony and Deeya Singh of DJ's A Creative Unit, Maryada: Lekin Kab Tak?, is perfect until you scrape the surface and find extra-marital affairs, a whiff of domestic violence, a hint of rape, the rage of honour killings and the blatant abuse of political power.

And if its creative team has the freedom, homosexuality in marriage may just get added to that long list. Key character Gaurav Jakhar (played by actor Dakssh Ajit Singh) shuns his wife Vidya who he is pressured to marry, revealing that he in fact, loves Aarti, his colleague at the construction firm he runs.

But a recent key twist in the plot suggests Aarti is only a front for what seems like a more unexpected secret he may be hiding.

Sunday Mid Day chats with the soap's writer Damini Kanwal Shetty about what could very well be the first time a prime time soap tackles a controversial issue of this nature.

Question: The buzz is that an important character in Maryada will turn out to be homosexual.
Damini: It was a mutual decision taken by the production team and the channel (Star Plus). We wanted to do something different. But we are still unsure if we will go ahead with the track or consider another option.

Question: Are you introducing a gay track for the shock value?
Damini: No. If we do go ahead with the track, the reason would be because we want to tackle a social issue.

Question: Do you believe the audience will accept the twist in the show?
Damini: We are still thinking it over. We will go ahead only after serious considerations.

Question: That's what a team player would say. What about your personal view?
Damini: Today, on TV, you can't be sure of anything. I think it's really about doing things with lot of conviction, and then leaving it to the audience.

Question: When you suggested the idea to the production team and the actor, did you encounter reservations?
Damini: It gives you a different creative high when you try something brave. As creators, we want to try everything. There are so many stories around us. When you get the chance to say something different it's natural to be excited. You are dying to tell those stories but there are restrictions; there are practical reasons. You are making it (a show) for the audiences and you want them to be happy. So, you compromise on your creativity.

Question: Is there a need to raise the issue of men carpeting homosexuality under the guise of marriage?
Damini: Such instances are rampant. We keep hearing about such cases. We hear about people going through this (ordeal); and it's not easy. It happens more in India because we are not open about (alternate) relationships.

Question: Do you have gay friends?
Damini: Yes. Sometimes, gay men make better friends. They understand women better.

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