The Pink Mirror

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Gulabi Aaina
The Pink Mirror
The Pink Mirror.jpg
Directed bySridhar Rangayan
Produced bySaagar Gupta
Written bySridhar Rangayan
StarringEdwin Fernandes
Ramesh Menon
Deepak Sonavane
Rufy Baqal
Rishi Raj
Distributed bySolaris Pictures
Release date
  • 14 January 2006 (2006-01-14)
Running time
40 minutes

The Pink Mirror, the Indian release title Gulabi Aaina is an award-winning Indian film drama produced and directed by Sridhar Rangayan. Said to be the first Indian film to comprehensively focus on Indian transsexuals with the entire story revolving around two transsexuals and a gay teenager's attempts to seduce a man – Samir (Rufy Baqal). The film explores the taboo subject of transsexuals in India which is still much misunderstood and ridiculed.

In 2003, the Central Board of Film Certification, the Indian Censor Board banned Rangayan's film on Indian transsexuals. The censor board cited that the film was 'vulgar and offensive'. The filmmaker appealed twice again unsuccessfully. The film still remains banned in India, but has screened at numerous festivals all over the world and won awards. The critics have applauded it for its 'sensitive and touching portrayal of marginalized community'.[1][2][3]

India's foremost gay activist Ashok Row Kavi says, in his review, "The wonder is that it was not made before. The reality is that it is here now". India's leading newspaper, the Indian Express termed it – 'This is more than just the "peeping into the closet" that Rangayan intended. It's almost throwing the doors wide open for the world to look in!'

The film has received tremendous support and critical acclaim from reviewers, festival directors and global audiences. It has screened at more than 70 international film festivals and won couple of awards. The film is also used as part of University archives / libraries as resource material in academic courses such as Gender, Nation and the World; Activist Voices in India; Gender and Film course.


The film centers around two drag performers: Bibbo, a Bollywood fashion designer, and Shabbo, a dancer, who have a strenuous and often volatile relationship with each other. Though they are known to quarrel often, they are always able to reconcile soon after an argument and prove to the other that they care about them.

They both have an attraction to Samir, an aspiring actor whom Bibbo claims is her driver, despite Bibbo not owning a car. The situation is further complicated by Mandy, Shabbo's young Western apprentice, who reveals she is transgender and admits to being attracted to Samir. Throughout the escapades and comedic antics that occur during the scuffle to win Samir's heart, Bibbo learns Shabbo's secret that she is HIV-positive, and is not above revealing her secret to Samir or possibly even the entire city.[4]


Actor Character Role
Ramesh Menon Bibbo A Bollywood fashion designer: loud, raucous and vitriolic. She loves campy drag humor and thinks she is a master at seducing men. When she sees Shabbo and Mandy stealing her current boyfriend Samir, she gets very upset and nasty.
Edwin Fernandes Shabbo A dancer: soft, sensuous, and equally malicious. When she comes to Bibbo's house, she falls for Samir and makes attempts to seduce him. During the fight with Bibbo, she learns that Shabbo is HIV positive.
Rishi Raj Mandy A young pesky teenager just about peeping out of his closet… a western closet – a westernized teenager who says he is 'gay', much to the ire of Bibbo who calls herself 'kothi' (transgender). Mandy falls for Samir, creating a triangle.
Rufy Baqal Samir The handsome aspiring actor whom Bibbo claims to be her driver. Upon meeting Samir, Shabbo begins her attempts to seduce Samir, even if it means doing so before Bibbo's eyes.


The film has been shown in many festivals[5]

  • Fire Island Film Festival
  • 12th Le Festival Question de Genre– Gay Kitschcamp
  • Fire Island Film and Video Festival
  • 18th Turin International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
  • Digital Talkies Film Festival
  • 6th Pink Apple Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
  • San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival
  • Queer Filmstan
  • Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival
  • Indianapolis LGBT Film Festival
  • Barcelona International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
  • Hamburg International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival
  • Cork Film Festival
  • Lehigh Valley Queer Film Festival
  • Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival
  • Out Takes Dallas Lesbian & Gay Film Festival
  • Rhode Island International Film Festival
  • Translations – Seattle Transgender Film Festival, USA (May 2009)[6]


Other related films[edit]

Since The Pink Mirror, its director, Sridhar Rangayan, has made two more films dealing with gay and transgender people:

Yours Emotionally (2006) is a film about a passionate love story between a British Asian from UK and a small town Indian youth. The film received good reviews for its bold and groundbreaking narrative.[7] It has been released on DVD by Waterbearer Films.

68 Pages (2007) is a film about the lives of five people who fight all odds to survive. It is about stigma and discrimination faced by HIV+ people – a transsexual bar dancer, a commercial sex worker, a gay couple, a heterosexual ID user and a municipality sweeper. The film derives its name from 68 pages of a counselors diary. This film had its world premiere at the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK 2007) in December 2007.


  1. ^ "BBC Review".
  2. ^ "YIDFF: Publications: DocBox: #22".
  3. ^ "Queer India: Banned, banned and banned again!". 19 May 2006.
  4. ^ "The Pink Mirror (2003)".
  5. ^ page about the festivals
  6. ^ "Three Dollar Bill Cinema: translations".
  7. ^ "Review in East Bay Express". Archived from the original on 1 November 2006.

External links[edit]