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Celebrating the SC judgement on decriminalizing same sex relationships? Spend the weekend immersing yourself in these two brilliant pieces of film celebrating a truly inclusive world.
In a regular column exclusively on Women’s Web, Anushree brings you exciting stuff to watch over the weekend, from a feminist point of view. We can promise you – no dull weekends again. You can see all of The Feminist Eye pieces here.
The Supreme Court of India, in its iconic historical judgement, decided on 6th September 2018 that the problematic pieces from the dreaded Section 377, that criminalize same sex relationships, should be scrapped.
While it resulted in a mass celebration on social media by almost everyone on my list, I saw rather strange comments from conservatives on many groups. These were disheartening to say the least. The heteronormative culture is so seeped in the mindsets of the people of this country and even across the world that it is so painful to find many straight people who do not want to come out of their own comfort zones.
So while they are all for ‘equal rights’ in theory, many are being extremely insensitive in terms of actually showing some solidarity in the face of this utterly proud phenomenon. This is India’s journey towards decolonisation, because India as a culture has been full of homosexual and transsexual characters and it is British colonisers who decided to criminalize it. So today as Indians, we are celebrating our culture rather than being influenced by ‘Western norms’ as conservatives would have you imagine.
So in the wake of these discussions, I thought today I will bring to you a movie and a short web-series that will give you a glimpse into the lives of the world that you find so different from yours. And if you watch these with a broad and open mind, you will find out that love has never been tied to the borders of genders and sexualities. It transcends the universe and embraces all souls.
The first one is Tangerine directed by Sean Baker of ‘The Florida Project’ fame. This one gives us a glimpse into the lives of transgender sex workers. Initially I thought it was pretty slow. But just like Baker’s The Florida Project, it hits a nerve at the end.
Sean Baker shot this film with 3 iPhone S phones. The background score is vivid and jumps from retro to pop throughout. I think both Mya Taylor and Kitana Kiki Rodrigues, who are both transwomen in real lives have given their best shots and have managed to successfully bring about the issues that trans sex workers face.
The second is something I have written about here before, but I will still reiterate because not many have known or seen it. It is a web-series called ‘Her Story’ that was recommended to me by one of my lovely queer friends. ‘Her Story’ revolves around a few days out of the lives of three people Violet, Allie and Paige.
Violet (Jen Richards), or Vi as she loves to be called, was formerly a bi-sexual man, who transitioned into a woman. She is conflicted about her sexual preferences otherwise, until she meets Allie (Laura Zak), a lesbian and a writer.
Paige (Angelica Ross), is an attorney who works for Civil Rights of all communities including Black and LGBTQ. She herself again is a transwoman, much to the disgust of her Christian evangelical mother and dates men.
What makes this Emmy-nominated web series stand out is the fact that it has been written, acted into and directed by transwomen. Most of the movies and series that involve transpeople (if at all) are created by cis people, which is why some really subtle nuances are completely missed.
I recommend these vehemently because all us cisgendered hetero people need to now come out of our little coccoons. ‘Inclusion’ should not be just in our heads. Thinking of how inclusive we are vis-à-vis including people different from us in our lives are two different things and the first one doesn’t help much. Thinking of inclusivity and then stifling your laughter when a supposed ‘man’ wears ‘pink’ or displays a range of emotions that you did not care to associate with being a ‘man’, is the worst hypocrisy one can ever display.
In a world where being comfortable with who we are is so steeply priced, the ones who revel in being themselves should be applauded. It is a feat worth an ovation.
In the next edition, I will bring to you some ‘unstraight’ movies and series closer home. In the meanwhile, watch these and let’s together bring down this heteronormative culture and make way for a more inclusive, progressive environment that can celebrate love in all its forms.
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Rajshri Deshpande, who played the fiery protagonist in Trial by Fire along with Abhay Deol speaks of her journey and her social work.
Rajshri Deshpande as the protagonist in ‘Trial by Fire’, the recent Netflix show has received raving reviews along with the show itself for its sensitive portrayal of the Uphaar Cinema Hall fire tragedy, 1997 and its aftermath.
The limited series is based on the book by the same name written by Neelam and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy, who lost both their children in the tragedy. We got an opportunity to interview Rajshri Deshpande who played Neelam Krishnamoorthy, the woman who has been relentlessly crusading in the court for holding the owners responsible for the sheer negligence.
Rajshri Deshpande is more than an actor. She is also a social warrior, the rare celebrity from the film industry who has also gone back to her roots to give to poverty struck farming villages in her native Marathwada, with her NGO Nabhangan Foundation. Of course a chance to speak with her one on one was a must!
Is Hansika Motwani doing anything really bizarre? It is common practice for celebrities to sell exclusive rights to their wedding, new baby etc. to publications.
We heard about a rather unique proposition on social media recently – the monetisation of a wedding – by transforming it into a reality TV show. Now I will admit my first reaction to this was horrified disbelief.
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