Video of the Day: UN Launches Bollywood-Inspired Gay Marriage Ad

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Wednesday Apr 30, 2014

The United Nations Human Rights Office revealed a new Bollywood-inspired pop video called "The Welcome" Wednesday in Mumbai to promote same-sex marriage in India and to challenge stereotypes.

The clip, launched under the UN Free & Equal campaign, aims to challenge the stereotypes of the LGBT community around the world and is the first time the campaign has tackled same-sex issues in India, the Huffington Post notes.

The press release for "The Welcome," which stars actress and former Miss India Celina Jaitly, reads:

Jaitly, who was last year nominated by the High Commissioner as a "UN equality champion" in recognition of her support for LGBT equality, makes her musical debut in the video, singing a new version of the 1979 Bollywood classic, "Uthe Sab Ke Kadam." The song was recomposed and remixed by Neeraj Shreedhar of the Bombay Vikings, and produced in association with the music company Saregama India. The dance moves in the video were choreographed by Longi -- the choreographer for "Slumdog Millionaire" -- who worked on the project pro bono, as did the entire cast. The concept for the video was developed by creative agency Curry Nation.

"It is an honour to partner with the United Nations on the incredibly timely and important Free & Equal campaign," Jaitly said in the statement. "I have been working for LGBT rights for many years, and I am honoured to contribute my musical debut to such a good cause. Music is a universal language. It can engage people's passion, and that's when good things happen."

UN Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said she was thrilled that the Free & Equal campaign was reaching India.

"LGBT people have historically been marginalized and subjected to discrimination and violence in India, as elsewhere. But change is coming," Pillay said. "In the past few months we have seen an unprecedented level of public debate relating to the rights of LGBT people. As awareness grows, attitudes will change. We need to do all we can to hasten change by challenging the myths and misinformation that get in the way of understanding. That is what this campaign is all about."

The two-and-a-half-minute clip is about a young man who brings his boyfriend home to meet his family for the first time.

Earlier this month India's Supreme Court announced that it will hear arguments on whether to reconsider December's decision to uphold that country's colonial-era sodomy law, Section 377.

Additionally, India's top court issued a landmark verdict in April, recognizing transgender rights as human rights, saying people can identify themselves as a third gender on official documents.

Watch the video below:


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