Features Friday, February 06, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute| February 3, 2015| 10.49 am IST In one of the few of its kind, a Kannada film director chose to make a full length feature film on transgenders, with a no-star cast of transgenders. Director Ajay Kumar’s Pumstri was launched in the city recently, and the subject has been close to his heart since childhood. Speaking to The News Minute, Kumar says: “I would have been in 9th or 10. There was a transgender woman named Mangala Devi Sangeethamma who used to live near our house in Kengeri. I used to call her aunty just as would any other woman. But later I began to realize that people treated her differently and taunted her.” He says that he carried these memories with him into adulthood and even as a filmmaker. “Last year I saw a film called Hijra and I thought that I must make a film on transgenders, to give a message to society.” He claims it is the first film in which the main movers of the film are all transgenders. He says that the five main protagonists in the film are transgenders and so are the two producers Revathi and Sangeethamma herself. The assistant director for the film is also a transgender named Chandini. Asked if any aspects of Sangeethamma’s life were incorporated into the film, Kumar says that he spoke to around 120 transgenders to prepare a plot for the film. “You could call it a film based on real life. It includes incidents from the lives of all the people I spoke to, including Revathi and Sangeethamma.” The film centres around Jyoti who was born a male and the troubles she faces, and her four friends. The other four characters are Aishwarya Rai (a transgender who takes pride in her beauty and therefore decides to name herself after the beauty icon), Chandini, Reshma and Ramya. The lead role will be played by Spandana, and all the five protagonists are not trained actors. Apart from the actors, two of the co-producers of the movie are also hail from the transgender community. Most of the members of the cast are first time actors and around 25 of them are undergoing training before shooting begins next week, adds the report. Asked how he came about the name of the film, Kumar explains that Pumstri is a Sanskrit word is a port-manteau of the words purusha and stri and means a male body with a female soul.

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