Foreign Affairs: Bisexual contestants on MTV India’s “Splitsvilla”


Travelers, it’s been a while, but at least you know that every time we come back it’s with some exciting news. If only we could pick up a globe, spin it and randomly put our finger on some country and say, “Here! Here is where I want the gay this week!” Sadly, that’s not how it works, and our world doesn’t give us nearly as much gay as we would like, but that’s what makes every worldly queer occasion even more wonderful.

This week our metaphorical finger landed on India, where reality show Splitsvilla (which airs on MTV) is in the midst of an especially shocking season.

Sixteen contestants arrive at a villa to mingle and find love. Only two remain at the end, supposedly a couple. There are also “kings and queens” that have the ability to dump others. It’s basically like high school. Every season is a bit different in format and Season 8 brought about some celebrity participants. In other words, the stakes are high and the drama is nigh.

You see, the whole point is usually the guy getting the girl, the girl getting the guy, etc. Not only did the production chose a bisexual woman (Karishma Talwar) and a bisexual man (Gaurav Arora) to appear on national TV (which is a big deal in India), they’ve done so without informing the hosts who revealed their surprise at the discovery on front of the cameras.

KarishmaTalwarKarishma Talwar. Her friends call her Kishi. Via Facebook.

So what happens when the show casts a few bisexual contestants? Maybe we’re going to get a twist? Not so fast. During the fourth episode of the season, which aired on July 12th, the rest of the contestants finally found out about their not-so-straight peers. Karishma was cornered by another contestant (Mia Lakrs) because of her bisexuality, which was altogether not the best situation ever. Things got even harder for Karishma when her close friend among the fellow female contestants, Sharika Raina, was eliminated.

The result of the emotional goodbye was a surprising kiss between the two. Right on the mouth! That is, right in front of everyone (and the nation!) And guess what? Sharika kissed her back! Karishma admitted later that she likes Sharika as more than just a friend and, even though she had to say goodbye, could it be possible that the bisexual character count of the show was actually three? Who knows how much more queerness the show has in store? Karishma is still going strong and getting into trouble on the show.

If you wanna read some of the episode’s highlights you can go through this page.

Check out Karishma and Sharika smooching around the 2:50 mark on this official sneak peek of episode 4 and stay tuned for Karishma’s future shenanigans!

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As always, you are welcome to send your international tips to [email protected].

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