In the mid-1960s, Evening in Gay Maharashtra was a favourite on All India Radio’s pop music programmes. The chirpy tune extols the delights of the great state on India’s west coast: the hill stations of Matheran and Mahabaleshwar, Chowpatty beach in Mumbai, the romantic ladies. It assures listeners, “You’ll like your stay in gay Maharashtra.”


In July, as the Supreme Court was getting ready to deliver its verdict on whether homosexuality was legal in India, singer Suman Sridhar assembled a band to record a new version of Evening in Gay Maharashtra, this time with a decidedly political edge.

“It has a renewed ring to it in this new climate,” she said. “It’s such a lost and buried song.”

Sridhar, who is part of the experimental duo Sridhar/Thayil and has also sung Bollywood tunes such as Khoya Khoya Chand, was introduced to the song two years ago by a friend from the queer community. “It’s been an underground hit with the LGBT community,” Sridhar said, referring to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community.

She began to sing it in her public performances, including once on the edge of a cliff in Matheran.

The music video was shot as a single-take performance with no edits, she said. The musicians, cinematographer, lights, sound and stage crew all worked in unison to experiment with the single take as a form.

In December, the Supreme Court ruled that homosexuality is illegal in India. Sridhar hopes that her version of Evening in Gay Maharashtra will give gay activists courage and focus attention on their struggle. “I want us all to be gay and happy,” she said.

Listen to the original version here.