My Brother Nikhil, filmmaker Onirâ€™s directorial debut, is a simple yet groundbreaking movie. It’s groundbreaking for mainstream Hindi cinema because its main character, Nikhil (Sanjay Suri), is a gay man diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. The movie does not ridicule or vilify Nikhilâ€™s sexuality, and it does not completely define Nikhil by his sexuality or his HIV+ status.What is does, in a straightforward yet ultimately moving way, is present Nikhil as a complete person â€“ a brother, son, friend, lover, athlete, not just a tokenized gay man â€“ who is experiencing a crisis in his life.
Cast: Sanjay Suri, Juhi Chawla, Victor Banerjee
The Kapoors have been living in Goa for several years, and are a well-known and respected family.Navin Kapoor is now retired, and lives with his wife, Anita, who has some Portugese blood, a sportsman son, Nikhil, and daughter, Anamika (Anu).Navin is thrilled to know that Nikhil has been selected for a sports scholarship and will be representing Goa in a national swimming championship.
Before that could happen, Nikhil is asked by his coach to take a break and let some fresh youngsters take over; he is eventually dismissed from the team; Navin and Leena encounter hostile stares whenever they go out together; and Leena is shunned by her friends.Watch the climax as the Kapoors find out why the ground has been removed from under their feet, and if at all they are ready to accept the challenge together as a family or as embittered individuals who end up blaming each other.
Set in Goa in the late 80s/early 90s, the movie is framed as a mock documentary. It begins with interviews of Nikhilâ€™s family: sister Anamika (Juhi Chawla), mother Anita (Lillette Dubey), and father Navin Kapoor (Victor Bannerjee).Nikhilâ€™s story as a star athlete and a loved and loving family member unfolds through the reminiscences of his parents and sister.Dubey and Bannerjee expertly capture the parentsâ€™ grief, their guilt about their rejection of son, and their reluctance to talk publicly about what is still a difficult topic for them – their sonâ€™s illness.Their performances are subtle and heartbreaking and serve to ground the movie in a sense of non-filmi reality.Chawla, while warm and endearing, retains too many of her filmi mannerisms, and so doesnâ€™t quite blend with Dubeyâ€™s and Bannerjeeâ€™s naturalistic acting.
Video Source: DVD
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