After the grand success of India’s first LGBTQ themed web-series titled “All About Section 377” (AAS377), fashion photographer turned film-maker Amit Khanna and his team is back with a brand new season. With an aim to highlight the issues faced by the transgender community in India, and to educate its audience about the Hijra community, the nine episode web-series is all set to stream in the month of February.
Speaking about the theme of Season 2, Amit Khanna, said “The second season essentially is about an urban gay couple (Rohit and Sid) landing up in a village and how they educate Sid’s family about the LGBTQ community. We intend to educate our viewers on issues faced by transgender people as well as poeple from the Hijara community in India. Hence it’s the first for an Indian web-series having a transgender person as a lead character as well as the first Indian web-series based in a village/rural setup.”
Khanna marked his debut in acting through this web-series, and he will reprise his role of Rohit in the forthcoming season along with Gulshan Nain as Suresh, Ankit Bhatia as Sid and Mustafa Shaikh as Chotu. Khanna informed that there are some interesting additions in the team in which Yash Yogi will be seen playing the lead as a transgender person, Gunjan Malhotra as Palak, along with a talented supporting cast that consists of actors from renowned theatre groups such as Lata Shukla, Sima Pari, Shareshta Dimpy, Dinesh Mohan, Gaurav Mishra, Mukta Chada, Deepak Narang to name a few. The dialogues have been written by Niranjan Iyengar and while Bhuvana Wadhawan from grand spirit entertainment managed the line production.
Watch the trailer here:
I had the chance to talk to Amit Khanna about his new show.
Last time you informed that it’s difficult to on-board producers for LGBTQ themed projects. Did success of All About Section 377 help in changing your perception?
Amit Khanna (AK): Sadly, even for the second season getting funds was not easy, hence it took us a while before we could go on floors. I had to land up producing the season myself with my friend Shyam Patel (Philum Makers), we were fortunate Asmiy Entertainment (Dhaval Patel) and Dancing Shiva’s Anuya Chauhan Kudecha and Ritesh Kudecha believed in the season and came on board. The success of the first season helped to create awareness about the project but brands and investors still shied away to put in funds.
SR: What message you want to deliver this time? How will it be different from the first season?
AK: The message is actually for the viewers as it deals with multiple aspects – not only regarding the LGBTQ community, but also about life in general. We just want to express the fact that “love is love” it should not be judged. I am sure the audience will be moved after they see the show, every person in the world must watch it and it will surely change people’s perspective about life. The first season was a story of an urban setup, the second season is a rural one, they are very different from each other yet their essence is one.
SR: How much research did you do before conceptualizing the theme of season 2?
AK: There was a lot of research.In fact, it took almost a year of understanding the emotional plight of a transgender person, The Humsafar Trust in Mumbai gave us a lot of information, and helped us understand the issues from a grass-root level. It took me a year and half to write the second season.
SR: The first season was set in the backdrop of a metro-city; while this time you are taking viewers to a village. How did you come up with this thought?
AK: India is a land of villages, and LGBTQ people exist everywhere. I just felt that people living in villages are still unaware about sexuality and it was an interesting premise to fuse urban and rural India. The combination worked and formed an interesting story.
SR: How was the experience of shooting in a village? What challenges did you face while making AAS377 Season 2?
It was a joyful yet crazy and exhausting experience. Firstly, acting and directing in the peak heat of Haryana can drive anyone insane trust me, literally no AC, the bathrooms added to the plight – but eventually, we got use to the environment. During our shoot, the controversy regarding Baba Ram Rahim happened and we were in an area which was affected. There were also Mumbai floods during the same time, and our actors could not reach on time.
We faced a lot of obstacles but the team showed great unity and really delivered. I would like to thank Gulshan who opened his house in the village Jatkhore for the shoot. We all got really close during the shoot.
SR: AAS377 is the first web-series telecast on national television. Did you approach any TV channel for Season 2?
AK: Well, we have not approached any television channel for now as we are looking to sell the season to a good OTP channel who can take the season further on platforms they think would be the most beneficial and value creating
SR: What are your expectations from AAS377 Season 2? How would you convince readers to watch it?
AK: I would just like to express that we have made this season with honesty and a lot of heart, so that love is not judged, so that humanity is not judged. Every person should live their life the way they want. If our readers believe that love has no boundaries, they should watch our show and if they think otherwise then they should definitely watch it. I am sure the second season of “All About Section 377” will bring about a revolution and change mind sets. It’s also a step in the right direction to eradicate homophobia.