Sex Education star Chaneil Kular on Anwar’s lasting legacy as a gay South Asian character
Sex Education star Chaneil Kular has reflected on the enduring legacy of his gay character, Anwar, after departing the show prior to season four.
The fourth and final season of Netflix’s horny coming-of-age series Sex Education dropped last Thursday (21 September), packing in more LGBTQ+ representation that ever.
The show’s eight-episode swan song sees a touching trans-masc storyline for Cal (Dua Saleh), Cavendish Sixth Form College’s trans power couple Roman (Felix Mufti) and Abbi (Anthony Lexa) tackling bedroom intimacy and the return of favourites such as sassy gay teen Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) and bisexual farmhand Adam (Connor Swindells).
Unfortunately, season four has also marked the departure of several staple LGBTQ+ characters including lesbian couple Ola (Patricia Allison) and Lily (Tanya Reynolds) and the one and only Anwar (Kular) – a member of Ruby’s (Mimi Keene) popular high-school gang.
In the new season, only Ruby moves to the new college after Moordale Secondary School is shut down, while her entourage Anwar and Olivia (Simone Ashley) attend a different school.
Anwar would always roll up to school in a colourful outfit, and dominate the school corridors with his self-confidence. Now, 24-year-old Kular – who currently stars in Netflix film Accused – has told Digital Spy why this queer South Asian representation was so powerful.
“A gay South Asian role can still be a taboo topic, and having that in such a mainstream show and him not being closeted and being openly gay, it’s the small details that really help”, the actor said.
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“I remember getting messages from the gay South Asian community who said ‘it means a lot being represented on screen.’ There’s roles that can benefit your career, but when they make an impact and affect and change people in a positive way, that’s as good as it can get.”
Describing the role as a “game-changer” for his career, he added: “It feels sad that Sex Education is ending, but all good things come to an end. I feel very grateful and blessed to have been a part of it.”
LGBTQ+ South Asian representation remains a rarity on British TV, but last week, BBC Three dropped their latest “trippy comedy” Juice starring Asian actor Mawaan Rizwan as Jamma and Russell Tovey as his boyfriend, Guy.
As for Lily and Ola’s departure from the series, creator Laurie Nunn has noted that she wanted to end their storyline on on a positive note, bucking the tragic endings that often befall lesbian couples in TV and film as part of the so-called ‘Bury Your Gays’ trope.
“Those storylines felt like they had just come to a really lovely ending in series three, and I felt like the characters of Lily and Ola just really felt like they ended in a really happy place,” Nunn told LADbible.
“Particularly because they’re a lesbian couple, I wanted them to not have any more pain or trauma, and just be left happy together. So that felt like a very organic place place to leave them.”
Sex Education season one to four are now streaming on Netflix.
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