It was the hottest and boldest protest against section 377. Straight models Tapan Singh and Vimal Shah got naked and kissed each other for Mandate magazine in 2013 to combat section 377 and homophobia.
When Tapan Singh entered on sets, he immediately noticed Vimal Shah. Their eyes met but the sparks didn’t flow. The awkwardness was obvious. In fact, when Tapan first put his hand on Vimal’s ripped torso, he hesitatingly said, “Are we sure about this?” But soon the two men, who were strangers a while ago, lost themselves in the moment. Post a few test shots as their lips entwined, and magazine got its cover shot.
This wasn’t an act of pure affection but one of principle and defiance. Tapan and Vimal, heterosexual models, with their entire careers in front of them, in one of the most image-obsessed industries in the world, decided to kiss for a cause—to show the world that intimacy is something universal and not given to classifications in law books.
“We don’t give a damn!”, is what they said when I asked about the Section 377. Talking about how he ended up going through with our shoot, Tapan said, “It was a very different experience than anything I’ve ever done before. But, at the end of the day, I’m an actor and I take on different roles and if I can support a cause I believe in by doing this, then all the better.
The kissing shot took a little time to get acclimatised but, once I got into the mode, it wasn’t really a problem.”