Transgender, an umbrella term that is usually used to define people who change their biological sex and the hijra community. But how much are their issues being portrayed? We do not even know that why most trans people are into prostitution. We know that trans people used to kidnap children and make them trans as well. We have even heard that trans people can give blessings. A human being seeking blessing from another human being sounds bizarre right but these practices are going on throughout society.
Films are known to be a way to portray evilness of the society but instead of spreading awareness, many movies are there that have portrayed trans people in such a bad light, which is also spreading transphobia. The character of Lajja Shankar Pandey from the film ‘Sangharsh'(1999) was a transwoman, and a Kali worshiper in the film, who abducted little children and sacrificed and cannibalized them at said Satan-adjacent Kali’s altar.
“Lakshmi” the movie was made to aware people regarding the trans community but failed to do so. Instead, the movie spreads misogynistic comments, exorcism, and transphobia. One of the dialogues uttered by Akshay Kumar in the movie enhances the misogynistic idea that a man should wear bangles if he is weak. The most common understanding that Indians have of transgender people is that of a person who is neither man nor woman, wearing a saree, which is what this film very clearly further propagates.
Following such commonly held beliefs when the audience watches a cisgender male Bollywood superstar wearing a saree and exaggeratedly portraying a trans character, it only works to confirm their existing stereotypes, further othering the transgender community, making them more and more susceptible to discrimination.
While films like ‘Kya Kool Hain Hum‘, ‘Partner‘, ‘Style‘, and many more feature such horrific stereotypes of trans women as sexually predatory, the film ‘Masti‘ (2004) probably has the worst kind of portrayal—even though it’s in a 5-minute scene. In the film, one of the heroes is on a date with a woman and is seen to be enjoying it. But, moments later, he walks in on her in the bathroom, accidentally sees her genitalia, and finds that she is trans. What follows is him going into an immediate panic, and nearly fleeing the scene. As if the very sight of a trans woman was an anomaly; and the fact that she made him believe she was ‘a woman’ a terrible ‘betrayal’.
If films are made on trans people, than the focus should not be on entertainment, but rather on the theme and issues which will help society to understand much better about trans community.
Visuals by: Rahul Haloi
Article by Sabir Hussain, The North-Eastern Chronicle