OHCHR launches UN’s first ever Bollywood music video against homophobia

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has released the UN’s first ever Bollywood-style music video to promote its Free & Equal anti-homophobia campaign in India.

The video, called “The Welcome”, tells the story of a young man who brings his boyfriend home to meet his family for the first time. It stars Bollywood actress and former Miss India Celina Jaitly, who was last year named as one of several campaign “equality champions” for her support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities.

Celina Jaitly also makes her musical debut on the clip’s soundtrack – a new version of the 1979 Bollywood classic, Uthe Sab Ke Kadam, remixed by Neeraj Shreedhar of the Bombay Vikings. The video’s dance sequences were choreographed by Longi , who also directed the dance sequences in the award-winning film, Slumdog Millionaire.

“The Welcome” was launched at a press event in Mumbai, at which Celina Jaitly was joined by renowned Indian actor Imran Khan, Charles Radcliffe and Jyoti Sanghera from OHCHR, Humsafar Trust founder Ashok Row Kavi and transgender rights activist Laxmi Tripathi. The Indian commentator and comedian Cyrus Broacha served as MC.

“It is an honour to partner with the United Nations on the incredibly timely and important Free & Equal campaign,” said Celina Jaitly. “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."

Commenting on the launch, the UN Human Rights Chief 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.”

For more information on the Free & Equal campaign, please visit the campaign website at http://www.unfe.org, or follow the campaign on Facebook at free.equal or Twitter @free_equal.

8 May 2014

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