We in our society have pretty much been deaf and blind towards the third sex. Which is why, when the superstar of Malayalam film industry, Mammootty, introduced his leading co-star, it was almost the beginning of a new era in Indian cinema.
In a first in the Indian cinema, a transsexual woman will be playing the lead in a commercial film. Anjali Ameer will be starring opposite to Mammooty in a Malayalam movie yet to named along with its own Tamil version called ‘Peranbu’. It’s said that her suggestion in the Tamil version was made after she left Mammooty spell-bound by her sheer acting talent.
The journey hasn’t been all roses for Anjali, however. She underwent sex change at the age of 20 but before that she’s grappled the fight to survive in this nation as a transgender.
“After completing my class 10th, I started trying to undergo this change. Initially, it wasn’t acceptable for my family. So, I ran away from home. I lived with transgender communities in Coimbatore and Bengaluru in the next couple of years. It was a period of real personal struggle,” told Anjali to Indiatimes.
She was born in a conservative Muslim family who was of course quite disapproving of her feminine ways. However, eventually, her family went on to accept her wholeheartedly while becoming one of her greatest strength in this journey.
Anjali had been modeling and over some time she started acting in TV serials. No one knew about her orientation until she dropped out of a TV show amidst controversy.
Anjali says, she chose to reveal the truth because being transsexual is not something she is ashamed of.
“(I didn’t want to) Act in life, as I am proud to be a transsexual. Since I have undergone a sex change, I am not transgender, I am transsexual, or a trans-woman.
But Anjali is very keen on the fact that she’d rather be known for her talent and passion for acting than her personal struggle or her sexual transformation.
“People don’t call Mammootty a male artist or Kavya Madhavan as a female artist. So why should I be called a transsexual artist? I want to be called just an artist.”
Often subjected to stereotypes in our movies, this move has given wings to a new world of acceptance and inclusion. The movie is slated to release in 2017 in bilingual languages of Tamil and Malayalam. While this is just the beginning for her in Tollywood, Anjali confesses she wouldn’t mind being a part of Bollywood too.
The fact is, is Bollywood progressive enough to take a step forward in a united inclusion of everyone from the society?
That remains to be seen.