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The Debate on Trans Gender Representation: Bollywood actors playing Trans Gender Roles

Bollywood actors playing trans roles will increase acceptance of the trans community or is merely taking away their representation




In the recent past, we have come to see Bollywood actors taking up trans gender roles. Where the fact that the narrative of the representation of transgender has subsequently increased in the last few years, (forgetting about Laxmi) in this piece, we are not really talking about the narrative of trans character by who it represents. There are a few examples of known and semi-known Bollywood actors like Kubra Sait, Akshay Kumar, Rubina Dilaik, Sharad Kelkar, and Milind Soman to name a few.

All of them have played their role of a transgender and from the acting perspective, they have been pretty well, the narrative itself is a talk for some other day and representation is something we really need to think about. The broader idea of a few of these roles is to bring the transgender out of the stereotypes associated with them, to increase their inclusion, and give them expression. And all of it starts with the mere question, ‘Who is playing the transgender when the role is ‘for lifting up of transgender?’ and ‘will Bollywood actors playing trans roles will increase acceptance of the trans community or is merely taking away their representation.’

Well, let’s look at both sides separately.

 

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When the audience will see their Bollywood stars playing transgender roles, it will increase the inclusion of transgenders

Well, in India, films, and Bollywood grabs everyone’s eyeballs. People have been watching cinema ever since ages and have remained deeply influenced by it. It is a not deniable fact that people have a deep sense of admiration and love for their favorite actors and often try to look up to the ideals of their stars. As the Bollywood actors are not just actors but influencers now, their taking up of trans roles will increase the awareness and inclusivity of the transgender. Perhaps society will start to keep their stereotypes aside if they will find their stars breaking those stereotypes.

 

A transgender film without a transgender, how true can that be in its representation?

The oppressor representing the oppressed, the majority representing the minority, the cis-gender representing the trans. Is it sounding like something that could make much sense? Well, the transgender community has this argument, now for more than ages that when something is made for them (trans), to give them (trans) the representation, then why is it not having them in it? Why they are not chosen to speak about them. Why a cis-gender is required to act like a trans when we already have trans genders existing. There are very few roles that are made for trans in the Bollywood cinema, and if those roles will also be given to the Cis, then where is the representation that they are advocating that they are giving. Will the trans ever be able to get roles in Cinema? And if they are not getting inclusion in the piece of cinema that talks about them, it feels hypocritical of the cinema to say it will lead to inclusion in the society.

Well, both of these arguments are extremely debatable and get the center stage of discussion whenever a character of such nature comes up. Now, Milind Soman will be coming in a Zee 5 web series, “Paurashpur” as a transgender and we are to see which side suffices.

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Ishika Aggarwal

Can write, shoot, listen, talk and procrastinate. A feminist at heart, Ishika is an avid writer and multimedia person who loves talking about women, realism, and society. When not working she is either seen watching films or making one.

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