Screenwriter Apurva Asrani (right) with his partner Siddhant (Twitter/@Apurvasrani)
Acclaimed Bollywood filmmaker Apurva Asrani has celebrated buying a house with his partner after being forced to hide their relationship for 15 years.
Asrani is an award-winning filmmaker best known for Satya (1998), Shahid (2013), and the human rights biopic Aligarh (2016).
His drama-comedy series Made in Heaven featured a gay man as a leading character and was widely praised for normalising homosexuality on Indian television.
Despite this Asrani was forced to conceal his sexuality for most of his career, with his long-term partner Siddhant pretending to be his cousin so that they could share an apartment.
“For 13 years we pretended to be cousins so we could rent a home together,” he wrote on Twitter.
“We were told ‘keep curtains drawn’ so neighbours don’t know ‘what you are’. We recently bought our own home. Now we voluntarily tell neighbours we are partners. It’s time LGBTQ families are normalised too.”
He shared a picture of the new nameplate on his house – with both his and Siddhant’s names proudly displayed alongside each other.
For 13 years we pretended to be cousins so we could rent a home together. We were told ‘keep curtains drawn so neighbors don’t know ‘what’ you are’. We recently bought our own home. Now we voluntarily tell neighbors we are partners 💕. It’s time LGBTQ families are normalised too. pic.twitter.com/kZ9t9Wnc7i
— Apurva (@Apurvasrani) May 29, 2020
While Asrani’s announcement received a lot of warmth from his fellow filmmakers, the majority of the comments beneath the tweet unfortunately reveal that India still has a long way to go when it comes to LGBT+ acceptance.
Speaking to the Indian Express in 2018, Asrani previously touched on his struggles growing up as a gay man in this environment.
“It’s the same for any person growing up in any sexually repressed society – you grow up in closets. It’s a dark space where no one else is allowed and all you have is a torch for company,” he said.
“You search inside your confined space for answers but there isn’t another soul who can share your feelings. You try and find answers through magazines, porn, noises that infiltrate from the outside world. It is lonely.”