Meet India’s First Trans Movie Heroine Starring In A Film With Superstar Mammootty

Posted by Shambhavi Saxena in Cake, Culture-Vulture, LGBTQ
September 18, 2017

Back in 1999, actor Ashutosh Rana brought to life what is undoubtedly the worst screen portrayal of a transgender person in the film “Sangharsh”. Shown as a child-abducting, human-sacrificing monster, Rana’s character only solidified many of the negative ideas people have about the already marginalised trans community. It was only 16 years later that Indian audiences would get a sensitive portrayal of a trans person – the TV spot by Idea! Cellular. Then, a year later, trans activist Gauri Sawant’s Vicks ad was regarded as another highlight. But in general, our mainstream media’s track record with trans representation has always been terrible.

That’s exactly why the upcoming film “Peranbu” marks an important moment in Indian cinema. It stars trans actor Anjali Ameer opposite the Malayalam super star Mammootty. This is the first time we are going to see a trans actor playing the lead on the big screen.

In a short video by 101India, Ameer opens up about her life, and transitioning from the gender assigned to her at birth. She talks about facing a lack of acceptance, and the feeling of alienation, among other things that so many trans Indians must endure. But her story is one of grit and determination and achievement. It is a story that inspires a lot of hope. Not just for her as an individual, but for the entire landscape of Indian media.

With Ameer’s cinematic debut, we ought to now expect a few things that are nothing short of radical. Firstly, this will pave the way for more trans individuals to pursue careers in acting and the arts. Secondly, we can look forward to a gradual shift in how trans people are portrayed in our media. And as a result, Indian audiences will have to confront their own transphobia.