saqibsaleem-march9India: Indian actor Saqib Saleem who shocked Indians by kissing another man in a film says an actor needs a gay fan following to be a big star.

“If you have to become a big star in the country, you need to have gay fan following. And what’s wrong with it? I have so many friends who are gay. I don’t make friends because they are straight or gay. I don’t know why people make it such a big thing,” Saleem told indiatoday.intoday.in.

Saleem,26, made his film debut in 2011 and has acted in three Hindi-language films so far. In his last film “Bombay Talkies,” he on screen kissed another actor.

He feels he has been taken more seriously as an actor after that film in 2013 when same-sex relations were legal.

“Even my mother thought Bombay Talkies was my best performance till date,” he said.

Bombay Talkies got him great reviews and the actor also earned a newfound fan following among the gay community.  The kissing scene also made it the most talked about film at that time.

“In my first film, I kissed a girl and nobody said anything on that. Now in my third film, I kissed a guy and the media has made a hue and cry about it. I am an actor so I have to do my work and going beyond societal norms,” he told timesofindia.indiatimes.com.

“I enjoyed playing that character in all honesty,” said the model-turned-actor.

Saleem pointed out that his smooch scene showcased how cinema has grown.

Earlier, a kissing scene was depicted on-screen by showing two flowers crossing one another. In this modern age, shooting a smooch scene is not a big deal, irrespective of the sex of the person, he said.

“I come from modeling background and I have a lot of gay friends. I wanted to play that character well so that it doesn’t portray homosexuals in a negative light,” he added.

The Indian Supreme Court has since criminalized same-sex relations and such a same-sex kissing scene now would not have got passed censors.

The actors could also be booked for portraying “unnatural” sex in keeping with a British colonial-era law that criminalizes same-sex relations and makes it punishable with life imprisonment.

The Supreme Court past December upheld the validity of that “Section 377” law, reversing the 2009 Delhi’s high court ruling that had decriminalized it.

You can watch the much talked about ground breaking smooch scene here:

Source: indiatoday.intoday.in; timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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