Vilom is a new queer Indian film that isn the writing/directing debut of actor Sunder Pal. It is one of those movies that demand a great deal of patience from the viewer for the whole first half. A combination of stiff acting with an equally wooden script make it actually painful to sit through. Then if we so, we are rewarded with this heart-breaking sociological drama that is a fierce indictment on the on/off/on way that homosexuality was eventually decriminalized in India.
The film in set between 2009 and 2013 in Chandigarh, India, and Pal plays the title role of Vilom a YouTuber who is confused not only about his sexuality, but also his path in life. He meets Amay (Navpreet Moti) a handsome hairdresser who has just moved into town from his village to escape his interfering parents.
Although Amay has accepted his sexuality , the two men court at a snail’s pace until an unsure Vilom suddenly blurts out ‘do you want to move in?”
Living together is not an issue (as long as Amay can keep his parents in the dark) but public displays of affection are, and this is what gets them into real trouble.
Even though the Supreme Court has finally ruled that homosexual acts are now legal, there has been an uncertain period in the Countries recent past when a lower Court overruled the Government’s Bill initially legalising it.
During that time so many people came out of the closet as gay publically only then to discover that they later faced the real possibility of criminal charges. Besides the facts of the Law itself, there were also the attitudes of society to deal with, notable the police and other authorities charged with enforcing laws.
It was a rogue group of the later that caught Vilom and Amay hand in hand late one night on a deserted road. Instead of officially arresting them, they tied them up and sexually and physically assaulted. This scene of sheer brutality reminds one that in culture like India’s where corruption is rife, there is little chance of any victim getting justice or revenge. Especially if they are gay and even if it illegal.
Tough to watch but now the film not only made perfect sense it made us aware of the actual reality of the struggles that the LGBT community still face in certain parts of the world today.
The end redeemed our faith in Pal as a filmmaker too, but to get his future work to the wider audience it deserves, he needs to lose that woodenness
The movie is available streaming https://www.dekkoo.com/ and DVD http://tlareleasing.com/films/vilom/