Milind Soman Made Me Gay

2007 | Documentary / Homophobia / Immigration/Exile / Performance Art / Race and Culture / Racism / Relationships / Religion/Spirituality / Representation / Sexuality / Social Issues | 27m | USA
Directors: Harjant Gill

In 1995, the Indian Government charged Bollywood superstar Milind Soman with “obscenity” for appearing nude in a shoe advertisement. Under the rhetoric of preserving nation’s morality, these charges were carried out using old colonial laws that are still evoked to restrict desire and persecute LGBTQ people in India.

Milind Soman Made Me Gay is a conceptual documentary about desire and notions of home and belonging. The film employs a unique mix of visual elements along with voice over narration to juxtapose memories of the filmmaker’s past against stories of three gay South Asian men living in the diaspora. Overshadowing these nostalgic explorations of life “back home,” are harsh realities of homophobia and racism in America and an ongoing struggle to find a place of belonging.

Reviews and Awards

“Harjant Gill’s Milind Soman Made Me Gay is a powerful and moving meditation on sexuality, race, popular culture, masculinity and the traumas of exile and migration. Seamlessly moving between India and the US, Gill deftly connects the violence against Sikh minorities at the hands of the Indian state in the 1980s, to the violence against South Asian and Arab communities in the US post 9/11. For Gill, these interconnected histories of violence indelibly mark his own queer body. An excellent film for use in Asian American Studies, Women and Gender Studies, and Ethnic Studies classes.” —Gayatri Gopinath, South Asian Queer Studies Scholar, author of “Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures&rdquo

“[A] sensitive, moving account about the tribulations of being on the perennial periphery.” -Vishwas Kulkarni, Mumbai Mirror

“[A] terrific film … beautifully filmed and conceived.” —David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle