For someone who has faced discrimination owing to his sexuality, it was “somewhat natural” for filmmaker Naveen Tokas — who belongs to the LGBTQ community — to make a film on the community that is often “ignored” by mainstream media. After six months of hard work with co-director Deepanshu Pitlehra, the duo made Singular: The Queen of Success which narrates the story of a transgender model and the career options that are available to her.
“We have seen films and documentaries on transgenders but when a trans model wants to make a career in the modelling industry, there are not enough opportunities; and even if there are, the challenges are aplenty,” explained Tokas, who works with the Miss Womaniya production house.
— naveen tokas (@Naveen_Tokas1) October 27, 2019
The 30 minute film traces the journey of trans model Archie Singh, who is one of the first successful transgender models in the country. The cinematic documentary captures her struggle right from childhood to adulthood and her eventual success in the modelling industry.
“As a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, I could relate with Archie’s life story because many of the incidents are faced by people in India, whether in school or in terms of one’s career choice. The journey that Archie has had since her childhood to now, where she is the face of a global brand, was something which needed to be told,” remarked Tokas. With the help from Tagore International School students, he recreated Singh’s school life on the screen, he informed.
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Tokas met Singh at a screening of his previous film Inaayat (on the relationship between a gay professor and his mother) and the idea for Singular came to him the moment he spoke to her, he revealed.
“I met Archie in 2018 and she told me about her inspiring journey. Despite the bullying and reluctance she faced, she earned her way towards recognition. That line of thought stuck to me. In my research, I didn’t find any film on a transgender model. That is when I spoke to Archie and suggested we make an inspirational film with a strong social message that is not restricted to just the LGBTQ+ community,” Tokas told indianexpress.com at the official trailer release of the film at Kitty Su, The Lalit Hotel, New Delhi recently.
The film is scheduled to be officially premiered in December 2019 at a film festival, and has already been screened at various national and international film festivals and LGBTQ+ events.
Ask him whether things have really changed after the momentous striking down of a few sections of Section 377 and he is quick to point out, “Despite the hiccups, change is happening. After 377, a lot of change has taken place in office spaces, corporates who are slowly opening up to the community. Despite struggles, after 377, career options have opened up for transgender persons. I also feel that people themselves want to change but all they fear is the society. It will take some more time for that mindset to change,” he shared.