Actor-director Konkona Sensharma plays a transsexual in A Monsoon Date. Directed by Tanuja Chandra and written by Gazal Dhaliwal, the short film is a moving story of a woman who is set to reveal her most personal secret to her lover.
The film, which has been produced by Eros Now, premiered today at the 20th Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival with Star. At the Q&A session after the screening, Konkona mentioned how she would have preferred a transsexual to play her role in A Monsoon Date.
“Ideally, the person playing this character should’ve been a transsexual person. It would have been nice to have an LGBTQ person as the actor for the part. It’s unfortunate that this isn’t the case,” the actor said.
“I, however, feel if we start telling these stories, then that will also happen sooner rather than later. Everybody faces loneliness, heartbreaks. It’s just that some people’s loneliness and heartbreaks are highlighted more. We need to tell these stories so that we can be more inclusive in the future,” she said.
When Tanuja Chandra was asked if she had initially thought of casting a transsexual, the filmmaker said, “The number of such actors available is so small. Once you get these stories out there, hopefully there will be a large number soon. One obviously wants to cast an actor who is really good.
“You don’t just want to have the right kind of person but who is also good enough in terms of performance,” she said.
The director also added that because it’s difficult to get people to back a story with an LGBTQ protagonist, the storyteller has to make sure that the story is stunning.
“I’ll have to make it in a really small budget. There will be issues. Of course, I’ll need an actor to be supportive. We will have to write a stunning story and get people to do it as a passion project. That’s the way to do it,” Tanuja Chandra said.
During the session, screenwriter Gazal Dhaliwal revealed that the film drew inspiration from her own life as she, herself, is a transsexual.
“I happen to be someone like this. You see a boy and it’s hard to connect him as a grown up woman. If you were to see my childhood pictures, you’d feel like that. It is the reality of a trans person. When we go through a transition, that’s how it is. My childhood pictures will throw you off. I’ve been through this transition,” she said.
This is Tanuja and Gazal’s second collaboration after Qarib Qarib Single. Gazal was also the dialogue writer for Wazir and Lipstick Under My Burkha.