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  • Writer's pictureBen Turner

Vilom **

Starring: Sunder Pal, Navpreet Movi, Ambika Kamal

Director: Sunder Pal

Country: India

Set in India at the start of the 2010s, Vilom (Pal) is an aspiring YouTuber. Meeting barber Amay (Movi) he tries to begin a romance with him, but with the Indian government continuously changing its mind about whether homosexuality is legal or not, they know that they cannot be open about their relationship for the timebeing. Meanwhile, actress Nivi(Kamal) is interested in Vilom, but the truth is hidden from her for fear of what would happen if she found out about Amay.

A dramatisation of the experiences of LGBT+ people in India during their struggle for legal recognition, the news invades these characters’ stories at times to punctuate a bit of context to what’s happening around them. Vilom and Amay are shownbound and being bundled from a moving vehicle in its opening minutes to instil a sense of foreboding, however its longwinded attempts at establishing character for the next 45 minutes leaves its impact relatively inert.

In the film’s later scenes, it does find its stride and really puts its characters through an ordeal, albeit later than you would want. If it’s aiming to shock, it certainly succeeds, showing a particularly unflinching scene with a group of frenzied soldiers that will have you hiding behind your sofa cushions. From the film’s innocuous first act, these violent sequences feel like a completely different film.

The film aims – and succeeds – in showing the reality of what the Indian government’s indecisiveness about LGBT+ Equality actually meant. From a blanket ban on the production of Queer Cinema in India, this is also the product of a change in their industry, which has seen its first of these trickling through in the last few years. The problem? This fledgling new genre means Vilom is unfortunately a piece of uneven filmmaking that struggles with its script and overall pacing.


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