Actor Ritwik Bhowmik who appeared in the Madhuri Dixit starrer latest released Maja Ma, shares how his parents' reaction to the film, which is centered on the LGBTQ community, opened a new chain of thought for him and more
The many facets of the LGBTQ community and their struggle are slowly gaining visibility in the entertainment space and over time, one has come across myriad stories that are representing the community with the utmost sensitivity. And yet, it is a rare occasion that a film is made where a female superstar is playing a protagonist gay character.
It is not a surprise then that the latest released film Maja Ma, starring Bollywood superstar Madhuri Dixit as a female protagonist lesbian character generated so much curiosity.
Actor Ritwik Bhowmik, who played the on-screen son of Madhuri, opens up on how his parents' reaction to the film made him understand the importance of such a narrative for the larger audience.
In conversation with OTTplay, Ritwik said, "I think we always need a masala mainstream film to reach out to the nooks and corners of our society where the conversation has not started yet in the middle-class family. If the conversation is not there, the normalisation won't happen and coming out of the closet would remain a challenge for any individual who is LGBTQ+. It is a multi-layered process."
He went on adding, "Though in most films and shows we have seen how parents are dealing with their children who are gay, our story of Maja Ma is what happens when we, youngsters get to know that one of our parents is gay? Will we accept it? That is why, my parents' reaction to the film was very important for me because they are of the generation that did not grow up in a conducive environment to practice many choices."
According to the actor, after watching the film, it was not only his parents but also many of his friends' family members who began to get a better understanding of the LGBTQ+ community.
Asked if his parents were overwhelmed by watching their son sharing screen space with the Bollywood diva Madhuri, Ritwik had a rather unique experience to share.
"Look, my parents are such movie buffs especially because they love watching Hindi cinema, that after 10 minutes of any show or film, they don't care if I am there in the film or web series. Really, they are that pure audience (laugh). But after watching the film, my mother, for instance, said to me, "I did not know such a situation can exist in an otherwise beautiful family. You know, I thought a lesbian cannot have children. I had so many misconceptions that this film actually cleared up." I think my mom's reaction was eye-opening for me!" said Riwtik.
Coming from an educated family from Mumbai, the Bandit Bandish famed actor pointed out how the film is becoming a conversation starter for the earlier generation.
"It was certainly not a dinner-table conversation in our household about LGBTQ+ community. But now, my parents are talking about it, feeling emotional and having empathy for those who struggle and gradually understanding the other side of the story. This film therefore I believe has served its purpose because Maja Ma is a full-on entertaining dance, music family drama film but with a truth bomb that we should accept, and love everyone unconditionally," Ritwik signed off.
Directed by Anand Tiwari, written by Sumit Batheja, Maja Ma, starring Madhuri Dixit, Gajraj Rao, Barkha Singh, Sheeba Chaddha, Ritwik Bhowmik, Srishti Shrivastava, and Rajit Kapoor.
The film is streaming on Prime Video.