Two Indian men find unexpected love in director Sudhanshu Saria’s debut feature, “Loev,” and HuffPost has an exclusive sneak peek.
Released on Netflix Monday, “Loev” follows Wall Street dealmaker Jai (played by Shiv Pandit) and Mumbai-based musician Sahil (Dhruv Ganesh) as they share an emotional visit to the Maharashtra mountains, rediscovering long-suppressed feelings for one another in the process. The clip above shows Sahil arguing with his boyfriend, Alex (Siddharth Menon), before embarking on his adventure with Jai.
“Loev,” which debuted at SXSW in 2016 to great acclaim, was filmed on location in India over the course of just 16 days and in secrecy, because same-sex relationships in the country are illegal. Saria told HuffPost that he and his “skeleton crew” told others they were making a road trip movie about friends.
“Making a film involves getting 'yesses' from so many people, you really don’t want to stir the pot,” he said. “We didn’t know who we would anger, and we frankly didn’t have the clout or the resources to fight it, in case some fringe group got upset and decided to stop the shoot.”
Saria, 33, said he was “thrilled and relieved” when Netflix agreed to distribute “Loev,” especially since he wouldn’t have to be re-edit the movie for different markets. Though there are political elements to “Loev,” the director sees the film simply as a love story and a testament to Ganesh, who died in 2015 after completing work on the film.
“My characters aren’t heroes per se. They’re flawed and broken and their love acts out in different ways and maybe the film just provides more fodder to bigots who are hell bent on dismissing queer love,” he said. “Ultimately, I was more interested in making these characters human and relatable than heroes. If someone is genuinely interested in engaging, they will find a lot worth discussing in the film and hopefully it changes their attitude towards queer love, the next time they encounter it. I believe in that sort of incremental change, so hopefully the film is helping move the needle.”
You can view “Loev” in full on Netflix.