Movie magic

WATCH: Bollywood’s first gay rom-com trumpets a new era in India

Bollywood, India’s answer to America’s Hollywood, has released the trailer for Be Extra Careful About Marriage (Hindi title Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan), the first-ever gay-themed romantic comedy produced in the nation.

Writer/director Hitesh Kewalya describes the key innovation in the film as empathizing with gay people, rather than making fun of them “in such a way as to make it accessible, and humor seemed to be the natural choice to achieve that,” he told TV network France24. He and star Ayushmann Khurrana have also assured concerned viewers that the film will not shy away from showing its gay characters touching, being affectionate and dancing together.

Related: Netflix is about to go gay and Bollywood

Bollywood has produced a number of films dealing with homosexuality over the years, though much like Hollywood, those movies often portrayed homosexuality as a source of humor. Recent years have seen the Indian film industry move away from that position, which as also coincided with changing attitudes toward queer people in Indian society. The nation did not overturn colonial-era laws banning homosexuality until 2018.

We hope Be Extra Careful About Marriage continues that cultural conversation, and helps LGBTQ Indians get more of the legal protections and social acceptance the community deserves.