It's not all song and dance in Bollywood

It's not all song and dance in Bollywood
Bollywood actor Imran Khan mocks conservative attitudes towards homosexuals in India while answering some "basic questions" on the issue.

Bollywood actor Imran Khan stares deadpan into the camera. He says he is going to answer some "basic questions" on homosexuality.

How do you make a gay person straight?

"Actually very simple to make someone un-gay," he says. "Go to nearest gay person and flick the switch at the back of the head."

Mocking conservative attitudes towards homosexuality, the satirical video starring the 30-year-old actor, of Delhi Belly fame, attracted 188,189 views on YouTube within a week.

Khan is among a host of Bollywood celebrities, particularly from the younger lot, who are increasingly willing to lend their fame to address social issues.

From spoofing conservative attitudes towards women and homosexuality to reminding the public to keep their cities clean and treat tourists with respect, Indian celebrities are speaking out.

Khan's video was in response to a Supreme Court decision last Dec 11 reinstating a colonial-era law that says gay sex is illegal.

"When the ruling came out, we were very angry. So we thought we needed to say something," said Mr Rohan Joshi, one of four stand-up comedians who call themselves the AIB.

Mr Joshi says he got in touch with Imran Khan, whom he had previously met. The actor immediately said yes.

It is a far cry from the time when Bollywood stars had such controlled public personas that they were not even allowed to say if they had a girlfriend or boyfriend.

"At the end of the day Bollywood occupies an icon status," said Mumbai-based brand strategy specialist Harish Bijoor. "When Bollywood says something, particularly young Bollywood, it makes people sit up."

A few months ago, another spoof video, also by AIB, starring actress Kalki Koechlin of hit movies such as Dev. D, mocked misogynistic attitudes to women and rape.

"Scientific studies suggest that women who wear skirts are the leading cause of rape," says Koechlin, wearing a short skirt. "Do you know why? Because men have eyes."

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