WATCH: This gay Indian romance has everyone talking about its love scenes

WATCH: This gay Indian romance has everyone talking about its love scenes

You are currently viewing WATCH: This gay Indian romance has everyone talking about its love scenes
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Image Credit: ‘Pine Cone,’ BFI Flare

Today, the BFI Flare LGBTQ+ film fest kicks off in London, one of the U.K.’s premier festivals celebrating queer stories and artists from all over the globe.

Among the eclectic lineup of hundreds of films is the U.K. premiere of Pine Cone, an all-too-rare gay romance from India, directed by trailblazing independent filmmaker Onir.

Onir first made a name for himself with his 2005 feature debut My Brother… Nikhil, the story of a famous swimmer facing personal and political pushback after announcing to the world he has AIDS. It’s considered the first mainstream Hindi film with a lead gay character.

Nearly 20 years later, Pine Cone being celebrated as his most personal and affecting film yet. Spanning three decades, it follows a a young filmmaker named Sid (Vidur Sethi), who follows his cinematic passions while also falling in love against the backdrop of India’s changing attitudes toward homosexuality.

Told in three parts, each chapter is set around a significant moment for gay rights in India. In 1999—the year of the country’s first gay pride parade in the East Indian city of Kolkata—Sid is just a teen, and grappling with the feelings of first love.

Image Credit: ‘Pine Cone,’ BFI Flare

In 2009, the Delhi High Court made the landmark decision to decriminalize homosexuality—a ruling that would be overturned just a few years later in 2012. When we meet Sid as a young adult here, he’s seeing a closeted man who refuses to call himself gay.

And then there’s 2019, when the Supreme Court of India voted to once again decriminalize homosexuality, a time when Sid, after decades of heartbreak, finds himself afraid to let love in, even after spending a passionate night with the handsome Rehan (Sahib Verma).

Onir hasn’t been shy about the autobiographical nature of his story, one he hopes can spread a positive message with the world, free from homophobia, death, disease, and darkness. And while it’s far from explicit, Pine Cone is also one of the first Indian films to depict two men kissing and making love.

“I would like [audiences] to see that our lives are beyond just being accepted by the heteronormative world and we are just not trying to fit into the world,” Onir recently shared with Social Nation. “The kind of films that I am making are about our lives… it’s important for me to tell stories which are from our lived experiences.”

The pine cone, by the way, has long been a symbol for enlightenment in Hindu culture, and it sure sounds like, 20 years into his groundbreaking career, Onir has plenty of wisdom to share with the world.

Pine Cone makes its U.K. premiere at the BFI Flare film festival on March 21. Stay tuned for further details about an international theatrical or streaming release. In the meantime, you can watch the film’s trailer below:


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