Society

Despair before hope

A still from the film Photo: Special Arrangement  

Usually, artistes are a bundle of excitement when they are to receive an award. Not Living Smile Vidya. The writer, theatre artist, clown and transgender activist was in Bangalore to receive the Karnataka State Film Award for 2014 for Best Story for Kannada film Naanu Avanalla…Avalu, and she was caught in an indescribable feeling.

“I can’t explain it as being happy or sad; I was in a different zone. The film brought back such terrible memories. After all, it is based on my autobiography, and it deals with the worst phase of my life,” says Vidya.

When she was conferred with the award, Vidya struggled hard to hold back her tears. The award came two days after transgender activist Tara succumbed to burn injuries.

“Given a chance, if I had been able to speak, I would have dedicated the award to Tara. It was surreal. Here I was being feted, there she was gone. In a way, it was reflective of our lives. We struggle every day, but there are brief bursts of happiness.”

The film, directed by B.S. Lingadevaru, is an important work of art because it chronicles the struggles a transgender faces and how she emerges successful. The film also won two National Awards — for actor Sanchari Vijay and make-up artists Raju and Nagaraj.

Vidya is amazed her story stays relevant nearly 10 years after she wrote her autobiography and two years after the film was made. “The book ( Naan Saravanan Illai, Vidya) was translated into many languages, and it has helped keep the issue alive. Personally, though it keeps my wounds alive, I’m happy I was able to move beyond that life.”

Vidya is deeply conscious of the fact that despite fleeting fame and popularity, finally, everyday life is a struggle. “While you are celebrated in some spaces, you are very vulnerable in certain others, and that is the irony of our lives. There’s always insecurity and fear of the unknown. But then, I deal with it like I handle Chennai’s weather. It’s always sunny, but during a rare spell of rain, I soak in the moment and allow that happiness to wash over me.”

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2020 8:47:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/Despair-before-hope/article16448484.ece

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