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Eunuchs star in reel replay of real life

As a beggar at traffic signals,I have endured stares,indecent remarks and even indecent propositions from men,” recalls Mangesh Mokashi,a eunuch from Vasai,Mumbai.

As a beggar at traffic signals,I have endured stares,indecent remarks and even indecent propositions from men,” recalls Mangesh Mokashi,a eunuch from Vasai,Mumbai. Today,Mokashi is ready to tell all this and more to the world through Aamhi Ka Teesre,a Marathi film in which about 100 eunuchs from Pune and Mumbai are acting.

The film was born when renowned Marathi film actor Alka Kubal Athalye visited Pune in August for the launch of a book by Paru Naik,Mee Ka Nahi,which dealt with lives of the eunuch community.

The book was released by Athalye and Laxminarayan Tripathi,a transgender activist recently seen in Bigg Boss Season 5. Athalye says the book was an eyeopener that changed her perception of eunuchs. That’s when Athalye,along with her sister Shilpa Masurkar,decided to produce the film. “Society is inhuman to these people. At the traffic signal,we might sympathise with a beggar but eunuchs are scorned upon,“ says Athalye,who feels that people have a lot of misconceptions about the community.

The sentiment is echoed by Mokashi. Speaking fluent English,the 30-year-old describes the first stint with the camera as ‘exciting’ and ‘depressing’,because,along with the thrill of acting,the film brought back dark memories of all that Mokashi had gone through in real life. “Most of us had tears in our eyes during the shoot. We could relate to what was being portrayed; all the sufferings,agonies we experience our lives were replaying in front of our eyes,” says Mokashi,who has studied till Class XII and runs a beauty salon at Vasai.

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The film is an ensemble of four stories of four eunuchs played by Atul Aglave,a newcomer,Marathi actor Milind Gawli,Sandesh Jadhav and Mokashi. “Of the four stories,three are based on real-life incidents but to portray the story of Laxmi,we have taken some cinematic liberty and added some fictional elements,” adds director Ramesh More,a National-award winner for Marathi film ‘Champion’. He stated that working with ‘kinnars’ wasn’t tough as they showed no signs of nervousness. Besides,the subject dealt with them so he didn’t have to try too hard to make them understand the scenes. hooting is over and dubbing is on. The film is expected to be released by May 2012. The film will also be released with an English title,The Third Gender,with subtitles in English. The team is planning to send the film to film festivals such as the Pune International Film Festival,Berlin International Film Festival,Jaipur Film Festival and Asian Film Festival.

Admitting that Aamhi Ka Teesre deals with a bold a subject and is a gamble that may not pay off commercially,Athalye says,“The subject touched me so deeply that I wanted to make the film a success.”

First published on: 12-12-2011 at 00:25 IST
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