April 29, 2011 1:46:04 pm
Seema Biswas,who is playing a eunuch in her next,Queens! Destiny Of Dance,hopes that the audience will accept her act with arms wide open. Here… she shares her experience on working in this film
Tell us about your film Queens! Destiny Of Dance.
Queens! Destiny Of Dance portrays the story of an upmarket hijra community that is headed by the queen,Guru Amma while the rest of the eunuchs are called chelas. The story is narrated by a young hijra,Mukta,who has the potential of becoming a Guru Amma as she is beautiful,dignified and a great dancer. But everything changes when another eunuch enters the community. People always have problems with transgenders in real life and this film has a message. It is not a documentary but a good feature film wherein the message is communicated subtly.
Tell us about your role and your appearance in the film.
I am playing the queen of the eunuch community who hails from a royal family in Rajasthan. I’ll be seen in designer ghaghra-choli in the film with loads of make-up. In fact,it would take my make-up artiste two-and-a-half-hours to make me look dramatic.
What inspired you to take up this project?
When I heard the story,I found it interesting and challenging. Generally,we have always seen men as transgenders. It was challenging for me to pull off the role of a eunuch because I’m quite feminine. So I had to incorporate masculine traits to make the character look real. Usually hijras do a lot of shringar and try to look feminine but once they are angry their aggressive side comes to light. So it was challenging to portray this dichotomy,but over all,it was a learning experience.
Did you get any inputs from real-life transgenders?
Hijras are humble but also proud of their community. They have a keen observation. Once I was not dressed appropriately for a particular scene. One of the real queens came to me and gave me a five-tola (50 gram) mangalsutra. She asked me to wear an expensive sari and do good make-up as that is how Guru Ammas usually dress up.
You are being touted as the first Indian actress to do a transgender role. How do you feel?
That is a lot of responsibility. I am a bit worried too because I think I was not up to the mark. I feel that I should have got at least two to three months to prepare for this role. But I only had 20 days to learn about the community and the character that I was playing. I wanted to do a lot of research before the shoot.
So how did you train yourself within such a short time?
It was difficult to play this role as I’m quite shy. So I met many Guru Ammas to imbibe their traits. They are beautiful and dignified. They spend a lot of money on their beauty. If they earn 1000 rupees then they spend Rs 800 only on make-up,jewellery and clothes.
Laxmi Narayan Tripathy,who is an eunuch,is playing a major character in the film. How did you find her performance?
Laxmi gave a brilliant performance. She is a complete natural and knows how to deliver her dialogues with ease.
Was Laxmi instrumental in conceiving this project too?
Ten years ago,Laxmi,who is a social activist now,met the director of the film,David Atkins. She asked him to make a film on hijras. So when the time came,he contacted her for help and she happily agreed. She helped a lot in casting.
After doing this film,do you feel more empathy for transgenders?
Yes,these people need love and should be treated equally. Society treats them very badly. During the shoot I met a eunuch who hails from a rich family. She was miserable as her parents were ashamed of her being a hijra. She finally ran away from her home and was given refuge by the hijra community.
Tell us about your upcoming projects.
I am doing Deepa Mehta’s Winds Of Change and Rahul Dholakia’s Society,which is still in the making though,but a bit of the shooting is pending.
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