Boundary-breaking Bollywood rom-com hopes to convince India’s boomers to embrace gay people

Hindi romantic comedy Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdha stars Ayushmann Khurrana and Jitendra Kumar

A new Bollywood rom-com featuring a gay romance is hoping to win over older people, following the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

Gay sex became legal in India in September 2018, when the country’s Supreme Court struck down British colonial-era law Section 377 – and the LGBT+ community in the country has blossomed the wake of the ruling.

On Friday, Hindi romantic comedy Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan (Extra Careful of Marriage) will hit theatres in India – making waves by featuring an unapologetic gay romance.

Rom-com Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan will try to win over boomers

The film stars Ayushmann Khurrana and Jitendra Kumar as gay couple Kartik and Aman, as they struggle to win over Aman’s parents – who are unable to accept that their son is gay, and attempt to set up an arranged marriage.

Speaking to the New Indian Express, Khurrana said he hopes to “reach out to the homophobes” with the “love story of two boys and how they fight the world”.

The story is light in tone, but doesn’t treat the gay characters as the butt of jokes – or shy away from portraying their relationship on-screen, with both kisses and flamboyant dance numbers.

Bollywood film  Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdha

Bollywood film Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan

Khurrana said: “Most people in the LGBTQ community have difficulty talking to their families.

“The biggest obstacle is the family. They are conservative, non-progressive, closed off. I believe our film will be the first step towards opening up a conversation”

The actor said that the film presents a serious message packaged as popcorn entertainment, adding: “It’s made for the boomer generation, the generation that thinks it’s unnatural to be gay.”

Love has no gender boundaries, says Bollywood giant T-Series

The film is co-produced by Bollywood studio T-Series, which famously eclipsed PewDiePie to become the world’s most-subscribed to YouTube channel in 2019.

Bollywood film  Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdha

Bollywood film Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan

Speaking to AFP, T-Series chairman Bhushan Kumar said: “When we heard the story, our first reaction was that it’s a perfect family entertainer that subtly speaks about the fact (that) love has no boundaries, no gender.

“”We have an interesting message of societal acceptance, albeit [presented] in a much more fun manner so that it reaches more people and helps them re-evaluate their pre-conditioned thoughts.”