This video comes at a critical moment in the evolution of public debate in India on gay rights. The law criminalising same-sex love in India, Section 377, was reinstated at the end of last year, following a ruling by the country’s Supreme Court that sparked nationwide protests and an outpouring of support for the LGBT community. Activists have appealed for the decision to be reviewed.
The campaign is an initiative from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
The video called “The Welcome” stars actress and former Miss India Celina Jaitly. 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.
Commenting on the launch, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said she was delighted to see the Free & Equal campaign extended to India. “LGBT people have historically been marginalized and subjected to discrimination and violence in India, as elsewhere. But change is coming. 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 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. The concept for the video was developed by creative agency Curry Nation.