Koimoi Recommends Mumbai Police: Indian cinema, especially, Hindi film industry has seen its own journey in representing the LGBTQ+ Community. While Ayushmann Khurrana, Arjun Mathur and others are still questioned on their choices to play gay characters in 2020, Malayalam film Mumbai Police starred Prithviraj Sukumaran as an unapologetic gay police officer 7 years ago. As the world celebrates the Pride month, let’s go back and revisit the 2013 release Mumbai Police, that was an example of the Malayalam cinema always being a step ahead.
Director: Roshan Andrews
Available on: Disney+ Hotstar
Language: Malayalam (with subtitles)
ACP Aaryan (Jayasurya) is murdered and ACP Antony (Prithviraj Sukumaran) is the only one who knows the culprit. Just when he is about to solve the mystery, Antony loses his memory in a car accident. The scheme if things make him investigate the murder again while re-learning everything about his own identity.
Before writing this piece, I read a few articles which stated how the film saw people walking out midway, because of the s*xual orientation of its protagonist. Mumbai Police stars a mighty police officer played by Prithviraj Sukumaran in the centre of it all. This fire-spitting, always angry and machoism embodied man is gay. Yes, people, this is a film made 7 years ago.
Now, while this isn’t a legendary film that one would use as an example of perfection. But what it is, is a brave step in terms of accepting one’s s*xual orientation and educating people about the stereotypical gay men that we have been shown. The fact that it addresses homophobia is universal and we still have a long journey.
So, the portrayal. There is a certain way gay men are portrayed, and it’s majorly inappropriate. Mumbai Police turns the world upside down as it shows the ‘manliest’ man being homosexual. Yes, we have done enough harm with the caricatures, Prithviraj as Antony is the repair.
Having spoken about LGBTQ+ representation at length, the film is written by Bobby and Sanjay who keep the suspense on. Till the last moment, and trust me, the big reveal stays hidden till the final shot. The treatment is just as any other suspense drama gets, and that works wonders. Prithviraj Sukumaran choosing to play Antony is according to me the bravest choice at that stage in his career. Jayasurya as Aaryan is likeable.
This brings me to a scene that stayed with me and was also a part of the controversy. The moment when the memory erased Antony realises that he is gay, he breaks down. Now, this scene created a debate that he regrets him being homosexual, which is insulting the community. But unpopular opinion, what I think is that what broke him was the fact that the accident took his identity to the fact that even his sexual orientation feels alien to him. Discuss this in the comments section below!
Directed by Roshan Andrews, Mumbai Police was a brave move in its time. Though it did lack in some departments. For example, there was a lack of backstories to these characters and uneven editing that felt too rough. But what it stayed true is to its core and that pretty much did the job.
Through years there have been many classic films that addressed homophobia and gave strength to the LGBTQ+ community. But Mumbai Police will always be a part of the foundation to the acceptance in cinema. Watch it to break the taboo.
Happy Pride Month Folks!