Somewhere over the rainbow

Sadhayai Meeri directed by Kiruthiga Udhayanidhi throws the spotlight on transgenders

How do you react when you see a transgender on the street or are accosted by one for money? Now, imagine you know him/her from childhood. Would your reaction be different? That’s the crux of Sadhayai Meeri, a musical video written by Vivek, directed by Kiruthiga Udhayanidhi, composed by Santhosh Narayanan, and produced by Lyca Productions. The project has been executed in collaboration with Cheer, an NGO working for their welfare.

The 4.48-minute musical features about 12 transpeople — there’s an artist, a dancer, an auto driver… each battling societal norms. It strikes a chord because it focusses on the past of a transgender.

A little boy is loved by his parents, before he is found applying lipstick and wearing a sari. He is then banished from home, taken advantage of on the street and ultimately only finds comfort with others like him. But, not for long.

Heartbreak and suicidal tendencies are common among transpeople, who crave love. Udhayanidhi says she did not want to gloss over the issue, but show that people are pushed to the edge, sometimes literally.

If you’ve known or interacted with transgenders, the album will move you, because you’ll get to see what they were like, before “hormones painted patterns” on their lives, as Vivek writes. Udhayanidhi admits there was a time when she used to wonder why transgenders begged and forced people to cough up money. “Twice, I stopped someone who was begging and asked them why they did not work. I knew their lives were difficult, but felt they must overcome it. Later, when I met them for the video, I realised how wrong I was and the challenges they face. The idea was to narrate their story and create awareness in the most sensitive way possible.” Hopefully, once that happens, fewer people will be turned out of their homes, and they will go on to get an education, and a shot at regular life.

It was a conscious decision to show their childhood says the director. “We tend to look at them as transgenders, people who are spurned by society without realising they were once loved by their families, that their birth was a matter of joy.”

This is part of an ongoing process to promote early intervention. The video also showcases fleeting joys in their lives — a stolen smile, a burst of laughter… “All they crave is love and attention. This is why so many continue to provide for the families that once threw them out.”

Ultimately, Udhayanidhi wants people to stop looking at them as transgenders, but as regular people. And, a world where no one has to look at the ‘men’ and ‘women’ boards in restrooms, and wonder where to go.

* The video took about six months to make, and was released to commemorate Valentine’s Day, to spread acceptance and love.

* Most people in the video are first-time actors

* Sadhayai Meeri is part of the #StandByMe campaign and it also popularises the 18005320532 helpline for transgenders.

* Watch it here:

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Printable version | Mar 27, 2020 11:26:05 AM |

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