Was Kajal from Hum Paanch a ‘90s LGBT icon’? Ekta Kapoor reacts to theory, says ‘you wish’

Producer Ekta Kapoor on Tuesday responded to a social media post claiming that the character Kajal Bhai, from the popular 90s sitcom Hum Paanch, was an ‘LGBT icon’. Ekta dashed the fan’s hopes, and said that Kajal was simply a ‘non-conformist’.

Kajal, played by Bhairavi Raichura, was shown as a tomboy who’d speak like a ‘tapori’. The show, which ran from 1995 to 1999, also starred Ashok Saraf, Rakhee Tandon and Vandana Pathak. Notably, it served as a prominent early role for Vidya Balan.

Ekta, responding to the original post, which declared “Kajal from Hum Paanch was a ‘90s LGBT icon”, wrote on Instagram stories, “Hmm! Nope How u wish! But def a non conformist.”

The original post provided ‘evidence’ to back up the theory: “Kajal was called ‘Kajal Bhai’, everyone at home used she/her pronouns for Kajal, but Kajal used he/him pronouns to self-reference. Gender-nonconforming style: Kajal always dressed in conventionally male-presenting, loose clothes. Kajal Bhai told people to f**k off when they recommended dressing ‘like a girl’.”

Fans seemed to be convinced. “Yesss. Omg. Wonderful observation,” one person wrote in the comments. “Damn! Watched this my entire childhood and only now is it hitting me!” wrote another.

Also read: I was a very awkward teenager in Hum Paanch: Vidya Balan

Hum Paanch was one of the several old Hindi shows that was re-aired during the coronavirus lockdown earlier this year. Recalling her experience working on the show, Bhairavi had told Hindustan Times in a 2016 interview, “I owe my career to Hum Paanch as it gave me my identity as an actor. People still remember my role as Kajal Bhai. I am thankful to Ekta and her team. Even today, the bond between all the actors is strong. We recently met for a reunion and reminisced about the show.”

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