Gauri Sawant on Sushmita ASen playing her role in Taali: Why should a transgender play role of transgender?

For transgender activist Gauri Sawant, watching Sushmita Sen infuse life to her story on screen with Taali is a big victory for the whole community, and doesn’t want to fret about the murmurs around someone from the community getting hired for the job.

Earlier this week, Sen took to her Instagram handle to share the first look of her upcoming web project, Taali. Along with positive feedback, the first look once again started a conversation on social around transgender actor not being considered for such roles.

“First, I want to make it clear that there are many transgender actors who will be seen in the project, who were picked after a thorough audition process. I am also attached to the project, not as an actor, but in some way. So, it is not just that Sushmita is the only one acting in the project,” Sawant tells us.

She continues, “Most of us from the community wanted to be women, and that is the reason we decided to wear a saree. Now, it is a mark of respect for us that a female actor is playing the role, instead of an male actor, which we have seen happening in the past”.

For many years, Sawant has been working for the transgender community, and is especially involved in many social activities. She also does important work to support sex workers, in fact more than 500 transgenders have been brought together by her.

She wonders why people have started this conversation that a transgender should have been hired for the job.

“One should think about how challenging the role will be for a woman with such stature. Because the role comes with a lot of taboo with which we live with. She has shown courage to take it up. And she was my first choice,” she says.

Here, Sawant asserts, “Humme bhi dosre role karne do. I want to say that people should consider us for other roles. Like I did an advertisement where I played the role of a mother, and people accepted me in that role. Why should be restricted to just the transgender roles?”

“We need to break these barriers, and open up more channels. Let her (Sushmita) play that role, hum koi aur role kar lene. For instance, I would be really interested in the role of Sushma Swaraj, if her biopic is made someday. Kissko restrict mat karo is my message for all,” she says.

As per Sawant, watching a woman bring the nuances of a transgender not a male, is a victory for the community.

“My guru, who is 73-year-old, ne khudh bola ke jab Sadashiv Amrapurkar ne role kiya Sadak mein, thodha acha laga, but kabhi nahi socha tha ke ek aurat bhi yeh role karegi,” she says, revealing that Sen worked with her extensively to get the character right.

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