The first scene of “The Welcome,” a music video produced by the United Nations’ Free & Equal Campaign, begins the way so many other iconic Indian film scenes do -- at a house preparing for a wedding.
“Today Sir is coming with his special friend,” a man says on the phone while busily preparing decorations. When "Sir" finally appears, his “friend” turns out to be a young man in traditional Indian clothes. The two men hold hands. The family stands stunned.
“It’s a new look, it’s a new attitude,” sings Bollywood star Celina Jaitly to a scandalized grandmother. “You might wonder where the old way of living is gone. But who is worried about who likes what, as long as in the world of love two people want to be with each other.”
The couple, of course, gets a true Bollywood ending, complete with music, dancing, and embracing by the family.
The video was produced to encourage acceptance of LGBT rights in what has been a hostile climate in India over the past year. In December the country’s Supreme Court overturned Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, a move that re-criminalized homosexual acts in the country. The ruling was widely condemned by human rights activists around the world, including by the United Nations.
Since the U.N. uploaded the star-studded music video to its YouTube channel in April, the song has been viewed over 1.5 million times, making it the organization’s most-watched video.
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