The debate over whether the homoerotic epic ‘RRR’ is a “gay love story” rages on

Photo Credit: Variance Films

Months after it first hit theaters and climbed the Netflix streaming charts, rip-roaring Indian blockbuster RRR (“Rise Roar Revolt”) continues to have Twitter buzzing—both because it’s a thrilling, highly stylized action epic and because it gives off major gay vibes.

But the latter point has lead to some heated back-and-forth between fans online. There are those who enjoy RRR all the more precisely because of the homoerotic tension between its strapping lead heroes, and then there are those who prefer not to label it a “gay movie” and just want to celebrate it for its over-the-top action set pieces.

Honestly, why do the two have to be mutually exclusive—can’t RRR be both?

Recently, Oscar-winning sound designer Resul Pookutty (Best Sound Mixing, Slumdog Millionaire) caught some flack for appearing to assert that RRR it not worth anyone’s time specifically because it’s a “gay love story.”

Admittedly, Pookutty’s not saying much at all, but, seeing that he was responding to a negative critique of the film, many users took it to mean he was bashing the film’s homoeroticism. Though the tweet’s settings only allow the sound designer’s followers to reply, many have taken to quote-tweeting and calling him “tasteless” and “jealous” for appearing to dismiss RRR.

Related: Indian action epic ‘RRR’ becomes instant gay classic for its unintentional homoerotic vibes

It wasn’t until respected Indian film producer Shobu Yarlagadda weighed in—stating he was “extremely disappointed” Pookutty would “stoop so low”—that the Oscar winner felt the need to clarify. Pokutty replied that there was “absolutely nothing wrong even if” RRR was intentionally gay, adding that he didn’t mean any offense by his initial tweet.

Typos aside, the response is a little confusing. Is Pookutty a fan of RRR or not? And, again, what does the film’s subtextual gay romance have to do with it?

At any rate, it’s clear that Netflix’s global platform has made RRR one of the internet’s most talked about—and debated—movie events of the summer. The Telugu-language epic from Baahubali director S. S. Rajamouli was an international box office smash when it premiered in theaters this spring, breaking records to become the third highest-grossing film in India and the fourth highest-grossing Indian film. And that was before it hit the streamer, where it has since captured the attention of cinema fans the world over and become a word-of-mouth blockbuster.

With more and more audiences queueing up RRR, there’s been a number of hilarious reactions from viewers over the past few weeks, many of whom—unlike Pookutty—are celebrating the film’s over-the-top camp appeal and not-so-subtle homoeroticism.

Here’s how fans have been reacting to RRR‘s gay undertones—and Pookutty’s tweet:

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