All-male Indian group to perform gay Bollywood musical at Mardi Gras, Sydney

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Sydney, Feb 9 : An Indian all-male group is set to stage a Bollywood musical at the Mardi Gras stage show in Sydney.

The musical, Butterflies Of The Mughal Garden, based on a gay theme, will premiere at Petersham's Metropolitan Community Church, Sydney on Feb 15.

Group leader Raj Ayappan says that since there's no mention of the gay undertones in the advertising, many Bollywood fans might get a bit of a shock after seeing the musical.

"Some people might get a bit of a shock. Because often in the Indian subcontinent region, being gay is taboo. You can be arrested and jailed," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Ayappan, as saying.

The musical travels from the 16th-century Mughal empire to 21st-century Sydney, describing two parallel tales of forbidden love.

Ayappan stars in the Mughal plot as a female court dancer who harbours a forbidden passion for a young prince. In the modern scenes, the gay hero falls for his best friend, and struggles against his parents' expectations that he will marry.

Ayappan said that many of the performers in Butterflies have decided against telling their families to see the show, because of the taboo tag associated with being a gay.

"I'm not out to my parents yet. They're back in Malaysia so that takes the pressure off. But if they knew, they'd be disappointed and extremely upset," he said.

Ayappan said that he hopes the audience will see more than a bloke in drag when he steps onto the stage.

"I want to show our community that we do exist. To teach them to see that we are normal - even if we are dressed up in sequined saris," he said.

ANI

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