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Badhaai Do Trailer: Movie Puts Spotlight on Lavender Marriage, But What Does the Term Mean?

Bollywood has made yet another attempt to popularise India’s LGBT+ community with a new film Badhaai Do. Starring Rajkummar Rao and Bhumi Pednekar, the film’s trailer reveals how a gay man and lesbian woman agree to marry each other in small-town India. Ever since its release, the trailer has garnered promising reviews. Rajkummar who plays a gay policeman convinces a lesbian PT teacher, played by Bhumi, to get married so that their families get off their backs. The concept of opposite sex homosexuals getting married to each other is known as a ‘lavender marriage’.

The term dates back to pre World War II era, the 20th-century Hollywood when public figures would hide their sexual preferences, since it was a taboo. Celebrities during the early days of Hollywood, in a bid to have a stable career in the film industry, would give the appearance of being straight and get married. The lavender colour, around the turn of the century, was often associated with homosexuality. Hollywod, hence adopted the term to cover-up marriages organised to keep up the facade of heterosexuality.

Arouba Kabir, a mental health counsellor and a wellness coach, told Indian Express, the term ‘lavender marriage’ is over a century old. “Lavender marriage is a choice that allows an individual to be themselves yet protect their personal lives from public speculation,” she was quoted by the outlet as saying.

Badhaai Do, also starring Seema Pahwa, Sheeba Chaddha, Nitesh Pandey, releases on February 11.

Recently, filmmaker Harshvardhan Kulkarni clarified that the film is not inspired by the South Korean film Two Weddings and a Funeral. He also emphasised that lavender marriages are as common as elopement weddings. Harshvardhan mentioned that thousands of films are in that genre so there may be other films that people may not have heard of. “And when you see the characters, you will realise that it’s extremely original and the story is organically told,” the filmmaker said.

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