Wednesday, June 17, 2015 - 05:30
An Assamese “transqueen” came to Kerala for a month for work, but ended up making it her second home. Jaanmoni Das’ love affair with Kerala began when she first visited the state in October 2010 for the shooting of an Assamese film. Today, at 26, she has done make-up for some of the top actors in Mollywood, including Manju Warrier, Kavya Madhavan, Rima Kallingal, Amala Paul, Renjini Haridas and Bhavana, to name a few. Jaanmoni’s father Saurav Das wanted his eldest child to get a job in the railways where he worked. But when he and her mother Beauty Das realised that she was interested in dance and art, they supported her work as a make-up artist in the Assamese film industry. Soon earned a name for herself in Assam. When she worked in Kerala for the first time, director Abrid Shine and producer TM Rafeeq wanted her to stay back. Agreeing to the suggestion, she did a photo shoot with actor Lissy for Vanitha magazine, and returned home. But soon, she began to get calls for assignments. Actor Lissy too, told her to come back. It’s been a difficult journey though. She found herself without work for many days, and being a transgender did not help. Jaanmoni Das “Initially I did not get work as I expected, so I felt guilty that I came here. It was difficult for me to even get a rented house in Kochi. Many think that people like me are bad. I was scared to go out alone because people looked at me differently; I was only 20 years old then,” she says, adding that the struggle taught her to be strong. Since then, Jaanmoni has never looked back. Soon after she moved to Kerala in December 2010, she worked for Renjini Haridas and Amala Paul. “Then on, Amala became a close friend,” Jaanmoni says. “I did her make-up for the 2011 Asianet Film Awards and it was a huge success. People said she looked like Deepika Padukone and everybody was asking about the make-up artist,” she said. Her success has been so spectacular, that in a short span of time, it was she who was approached when Manju Warrier made a comeback. A photo shoot she did for Star and Style magazine was a “huge hit”. “I even got calls from abroad to congratulate me. Then I learned that Manju was one of the superstars here. Now I have worked with almost all the stars,” she says. Jaanmoni says she owes her success to her family. “They understood me. Above all, they accepted me as I am. They recognized me with my identity. Even the rest of my family accepted me. What I got is not that every one of my kind gets,” she says. Her success is also part attitude. Asked how she should be described for this story, Jaanmoni refused any labels and came up with her own self-description: “transqueen”. Photo courtesy- Seny P Arukattu Ruing the discrimination that people like her face, she said: “We are not criminals and neither are we abnormal. This is how god created me and god has given me a duty to do in this world like anyone else,” she said confidently. Every time she does her “duty” though, actor Sridevi’s face flats before her eyes. “I’m really mad about Sridevi. It’s my dream to work with her. Now her hair stylist is my best friend so I am trying hard to attain that dream,” Jaanmoni quips. Professionally, she says she has received much support from the industry, which makes her feel “safe and secure”. “I got lot of love from Kerala, they considered me as their own sister. I had many bad experiences but I would like to remember only good that happens to me,” she added. Today, Jaanmoni is so busy that she has a well-equipped team with two managers, three assistants and some trainees. She works extensively with ad films and photo shoots, because films are fewer. Read- Meet the Chennai guy who is dating 365 women this year            
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