Transgenders play ‘female’ leads, create celluloid historyMay 17th, 2008 - 9:16 am ICT by admin
By Ayyappa Prasad
Chennai, May 17 (IANS) Karpaka and Revathi, who are transgenders in real life, will rewrite cinema history by playing ‘female’ leads in the forthcoming Tamil films “Paal” and “Thenavattu”. While Karpaka features as the central character in “Paal”, Revathi will be seen in “Thenavattu”. A transgender is a person who attempts to take on the identity of the opposite sex.
“Karpaka needed a lot of convincing to play a very complex role opposite choreographer Kadhal Kandas, who is the male lead,” said Shiva Kumar, director of “Paal”.
“The project is the result of meticulous study in Mumbai amidst the community for over two months in the company of Vidya, the transgender author of the book ‘Living Smile’ who underwent a sex-change operation in real life,” added Kumar.
Kumar’s film shows the realistic side of the transgender activist Vidya assisting him in the film.
“A transgender is always depicted as a beggar or denigrated as sub-human caricature in every film. Vidya, an activist and leading light of the community’s association in Tamil Nadu, not only provided inputs but is also assisting in the making of ‘Paal’ - all about a person torn between an absent sexual identity and an emotional turmoil over a love affair with a man,” Kumar added.
Kumar is tight-lipped about the rest of the storyline. His film is due for an August release.
V.V. Kathir, who is directing “Thenavattu”, describes his venture as another bold film in the making, featuring transgender Revathi in a role strong enough to change the world’s perception of a transsexual.
“My movie will result in a new generation of ‘normal’ people treating a transgender as ‘brother,’ ’sister’ or more importantly, as a friend,” Kathir opined.
“Thenavattu” featuring Jeeva in the main lead have to wait for the Indian Premier League cricket fever to subside to augment its financial viability through additional funds for its completion, Kathir added.
Recently, another celluloid account of a transgender, “Achchupizhai”, directed by Vignesh, was shown at a transgender film festival in Madurai.
It was a tragic tale of a rustic youth’s biological change from man to woman, followed by a marriage. The film climaxed in the main character being lynched by the inhabitants of a village who did not understand the relationship.
As expected, it is yet to find takers for commercial release.
Celebrated cinematographer-cum-director Santosh Sivan’s award winning essay “Navarasa” and a television show anchored by transsexual Rose in Tamil Nadu have established a niche for such subjects.
Sivan’s film told the story of a 13-year-old girl’s journey to Koovagam, a holy place for transgenders in Villupuram district, to witness the transformation of her uncle into a woman.
Annually, Koovagam witnesses rituals of transgender re-enacting an event in the life of Hindu god Krishna’s female avatar and local deity Koothandavar at the Sri Koothandavar temple.
Despite social stigma surrounding transgenders, the fact that the Koovagam ritual is featured prominently in several local and foreign satellite television channels annually is a sign of the ‘normal’ world’s coming to terms with this misunderstood section of humanity.
Now movies too seem to be following suit.
- Thousands of transgenders attend Koovagam Festival in Tamil Nadu - Apr 29, 2010
- Santosh Sivan's Film On Vasco Da Gama's Death - Jul 06, 2010
- 'Urumi' a Malayalam production speaking different languages: Sivan - Apr 01, 2011
- Santosh Sivan's 'Urumi' for Busan film fest - Sep 11, 2011
- Sivan first South Asian to get ASC membership - Apr 28, 2012
- Doraiswamy to Revathi: A Tamil writer-activist's alternative journey - Aug 18, 2010
- Recognise transgenders as separate gender group: Experts - May 12, 2012
- Vidya's cameo - Aug 19, 2010
- 'Mandhira Punnagai' bold but not gripping enough (Tamil Film Review) - Nov 21, 2010
- 'Urumi' wins best film at Madrid film fest - Jun 04, 2012
- Thai 'ladyboy' flight attendants take flight - Dec 16, 2011
- Vidya Balan's Mohiniyattam Postponed, Shoulder Condition Relapse - Aug 28, 2010
- National award winning children's film set for legal tangle - Sep 16, 2010
- You cannot cheat today's audiences: Revathy (Interview) - May 04, 2012
- Vidya's Item Number In Urumi Is A Gift To Her Parents - Aug 20, 2010
Tags: beggar, brother sister, central character, cinema history, cricket fever, emotional turmoil, financial viability, jeeva, kandas, leading light, league cricket, love affair, main lead, meticulous study, paal, revathi, sex change operation, sexual identity, tamil films, transgender activist