News that comic actor Shakti Kapoor has been voted a new Indian gay icon in a reader's poll has been met by skepticism by community representatives.
Kapoor, 59, has starred in hundreds of Bollywood films usually in a comic or villainous role and was a contestant in the Indian celebrity big brother (Bigg Boss) last year. Yesterday he was voted a new gay icon in an online poll.
Poorva Rajaram, spokesperson for Bangalore Queer Film Festival, said:
'This is the first time I've heard Shakti Kapoor as a probable gay icon, I'm not inclined to think well of the idea. He was last seen lusting after women on the Indian Big Brother reality show.'
When asked who is are the real gay icons in India, Rajaram said:
'The usual names that do the rounds amongst gay men are Hrithik Roshan and Arjun Rampal. Personally, I can't believe they left the actress Rekha off the list (someone lesbians and gay men can agree on) who famously lives with a woman.'
Pallav Patakar, one of the directors of Kashish Mumbai International Film Festival, said: 'That's a joke. He has played stereotypical gay characters in Hindi movies, in effect he has been the comic relief to make fun of gay men.
Perhaps Kapoor's publicist (anxious to restore a reputation marred by sleazy behaviour to women) has caught on to the 'Roshan effect' of courting the pink rupee.
Either that or Kapoor's appearance in the poll is a product of the famously mischievous Indian sense of humour.