Only a few months after India decriminalized gay sex by repealing section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, a mainstream lesbian romance is coming to to the Bollywood big screen. Sonam Kapoor, one of the most recognizable names in Bollywood will play Sweety Chaudhary in the upcoming How I Felt When I Saw That Girl.
In the movie, Sweety’s family continually tries to find a man for Sweety, who is not pleased with any of the potential suitors. Sweety, it turns out, is in love with the character Kuku, who is played by Regina Cassandra. The movie then follows Sweety’s emotional search for acceptance with her family after she comes out.
The role seems like a natural fit for Kapoor, who is one of the highest-paid Bollywood actresses currently working and is also a vocal advocate for LGBTQ rights in India. In 2016, Kapoor appeared alongside Ian McKellen at the Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, and called for the end of the criminalization of gay sex under Indian law. Kapoor told the audience, “It’s a basic human right. It’s not about lesbian, gay, male, female or transsexual. It’s about being able to be who you want to be and being somebody who is just themselves. I have advocated that from the beginning of my career.” Kapoor also supported the 2017 short film Sisak, starring Jitin Gulati and Dhruv Singhal by launching the trailer on twitter. Sisak was billed as India’s first silent queer love story.
How I Felt When I Saw That Girl will also be the first time that Kapoor stars alongside her father, Anil Kapoor, in a major film. Anil Kapoor is a Bollywood mainstay who reached international audiences and wide acclaim in Danny Boyle’s 2008 Slumdog Millionaire, in which he played Prem Kumar, the gameshow host in the film. How I Felt When I Saw That Girl is set for release early next year.