Arun Venugopal is a reporter and the creator of Micropolis, WNYC’s multi-platform series examining race, sexuality, religion, street life and other issues that define New York City. He has been with the station since 2005, and has covered a wide range of stories, including the death of Sean Bell, the controversy over the Park 51 mosque and community center and Occupy Wall Street .
Micropolis: Gay Marriage, Bollywood Version
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - 05:00 PM
To understand just how much America -- and it's ideas about gay rights and other issues -- continue to influence the rest of the world, it's worth watching a movie called English Vinglish, a Bollywood hit from last year, starring Indian screen legend Sridevi. Her character, Shashi, is visiting her sister in the U.S. for a few weeks, and starts taking English-language classes in Manhattan.
The language teacher, David, is gay and his breakup with a boyfriend amuses one of the students, a taxi driver from Pakistan. But Shashi chides him, in English and in Hindi. "She say, 'David-sir, different for you," another student translates. "'You different for David-sir. But heart pain, same same.'"
The idea of love between two people of the same sex has become so widespread, that here it comes from the mouth of a traditional Indian woman in a sari. But there's a reason the movie is set in America: because this is where change is always happening.
In this latest Micropolis, WNYC's Arun Venugopal discusses how America's debate on gay marriage and other civil rights issues resonates abroad, for better or worse.