The United Nations Free & Equal campaign to end homophobia has made its first foray into India with a Bollywood-style music video. “The Welcome” tells the story of a young man who brings his boyfriend home to meet his family for the first time.
In true Bollywood style, the colourful video contains plenty of drama and tension — before everyone ends up happy and dancing.
The video, which stars Indian actor and former Miss India Celina Jaitly, was accompanied by a message from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in which he expressed support for India’s LGBT community:
“Today the United Nations and our partners issue a call to action: For an end to criminalization, for effective legal protection against discrimination, and for all members of our human family to be treated with the compassion, respect and dignity they deserve.”
Although homosexual sex remains illegal in India, LGBT relationships and themes have been featured in Indian cinema before.
In the 2004 film Girlfriend, two lesbian lovers argue when a man comes between them:
In 2008’s Dostana, two straight men pretend to be gay in order to share an apartment with a young woman, with whom they both wind up falling in love. It went on to become the eighth highest-grossing film at the Indian box office in 2008:
Sanjay Sharma’s 2010 Dunno Y...Na Jaane Kyon (Don't Know Why) features the first gay kiss in Indian cinema, between Yuvraaj Parashar and Kapil Sharma. It premiered in India’s inaugural Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival:
The festival launched during a brief moment in India’s history when homosexual sex was decriminalized. However, in December, 2013, the Supreme Court of India upheld the section of the Indian penal code that criminalizes gay sex. Last month, the court agreed to reconsider the ban on gay sex.