by: R. Raj Rao
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One Saturday morning in late 1992, Yudi, a forty something gay journalist, picks up a nineteen-year-old Dalit boy in the Churchgate loo. After hurried sex, he gets rid of the boy, afraid that he may be a hustler. There is nothing to set this brief encounter apart from numerous others, and Yudi returns to his bachelor’s flat and sex with strangers. Months pass. But when riots break out in Mumbai, Yudi finds himself worrying about the boy from Churchgate station. He is in love.
Chance brings the two together again, and this time they spend a week as a married couple in Yudi’s flat, take a holiday, and meet for beer every Friday, till the boy, Milind Mahadik, disappears (he has been hired by a modelling-cum-call-boy agency owned by the Bollywood star Ajay Kapur, a closet bisexual). Desolate, Yudi finds solace in the company of the middle-aged painter Gauri, a highly-strung woman madly in love with him, whose advances he has consistently rejected.
When Milind resurfaces, it is only to marry a girl chosen by his parents, for he has had it with Yudi and his kind. Yudi is heartbroken. But all is not lost: in straitened circumstances after marriage, Milind pays his gentleman friend a visit and stays the night. Henceforth, mutual need—Yudi’s for love and Milind’s for money—will keep bringing them together. In the final analysis, as Yudi tells Gauri—now the mistress of an ageing businessman—everything works out, and ‘life is beautiful’.
Full of irreverent, dry humour and devoid of sentimentality, The Boyfriend brings us a tragi-comic love story from the jumbled up heart of Mumbai. In the process, it also examines with unsparing irony the realities of caste, class, religion, masculinity and the gay subculture in India.