Transgenders are often objects of ridicule in films. ‘Narthagi’ attempts to change that

Tamil cinema has long degraded transgenders, often depicting them as prostitutes and hecklers. “This should change. Such movies give the audience a wrong notion about us,” says Kalki Subramanian, a transgender rights activist.

As the first step to educate the public using the visual media, a dedicated team of technicians has come forward to make a movie about the life of a transgender. Kalki has played the lead role.

“Narthagi is produced by ‘Punnagai poo' Geetha and directed by journalist-turned director G. Vijayapadma. G.V. Prakash has scored the music. The movie was shot for a period of two months in places such as Thanjavur, Thiruvaiyaru, Mumbai and Chennai. Actor Girish Karnad has played the role of my father,” says Kalki. “The script is derived from real-life incidents of the transgender community. Re-recording work is now on and the movie will be released around February 14,” she adds. Kalki is unhappy that the Central Board of Film Certification has issued Narthagi an ‘A' certificate. “When the Board can issue a ‘U' certificate for movies with scenes in which transgenders are called offensive names, it's sad that ‘Narthagi' has been certified as ‘A'.”

Project Kalki

Kalki is playing an active part in transgender empowerment. She was recently invited by the United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to take part in the International Visitor Leadership programme. She has now initiated a web channel, www.projectkalki.com as part of ‘Project Kalki'.

The web channel will have dedicated content posted by transgenders who will be trained and equipped with a camera.

“They can make as much as Rs.2, 000 for each story they file,” says Kalki.

Kalki also has a French movie in the pipeline. “Talks are now on and if things go well, we should start shooting by the end of this year,” she says.

Keywords: transgendersKalki

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