Priyakanta Laishram & Suraj Ngashepam: Manipur’s first onscreen gay couple

GAY MOVIES and series have become popular in recent years. It used to be that you could barely find a non-stereotypical gay character on a movie or TV show, let alone a male couple. Sometimes, they would jump through hoops to imply the characters had feelings for each other, without actually showing them get together. Nowadays, gay movies and series are loud, proud, and out front and centre in the mainstream international market. We are still taken aback at how much BL movies and series are thriving in countries like Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, Vietnam, and even South Korea.

This time, it is in Manipur, North East India. Is this a dream? It’s fascinating that the genre has taken off in Manipur with Priyakanta Laishram’s forthcoming Manipur’s first ever gay-themed movie ‘ONENESS‘. Another bastion falls!

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Priyakanta Laishram and Suraj Ngashepam, “The First Gay Couple On Manipuri Cinema” has viewers hooked. Known for breaking stereotypes and always choosing multilayered characters, Priyakanta Laishram is among the best actors/filmmakers in the industry today. Since the inception of his career, he has not shied away from talking about different topics. Coming to Suraj Ngashepam, the public really didn’t see it coming because this is the first time he does something unconventional and out of his comfort zone. He plays Priyakanta’s love interest in the film.

Priyakanta Laishram, who is also the writer and director of the movie says, “I spent eight months just looking for an actor to play the lead role. Every actor said no because it was the role of a gay man. In the beginning, Suraj was also concerned about his macho image of a conventional film hero and he was hesitant to do a gay wedding scene. But later on, I convinced him.”

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Priyakanta said he had no apprehensions whatsoever when the part came his way. “You need a mass or a mainstream film to do this subject to normalise it,” says Laishram. “This is the perfect time. I have always been a risk-taker. It’s a character I am playing. What’s the qualm or negative side in this?” he added.

Laishram is hopeful that the film helps change the perception of homosexuality being “a taboo” and that the process of coming out to parents becomes easier for kids more so in smaller cities and towns.

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