Chennai trans community protests over context not aesthetics of Shankar’s “I”


I protest post

The Chennai transgender community upset over the part played by Ojas M. Rajani, protested director Shankar’s latest film “I”.

Make-up artist Ojas M. Rajani who identifies as male to tried to stop the protest telling the community “I” was filmed aesthetically appealing specifically so transgender people wouldn’t find it offensive.

i three

The trans community’s objection to the film had nothing to do with cinematography and everything to do with context. They are worried about how the transgender role would further erode the public’s opinion of Indian transgender people.

In the film, Rajani lusts over actor Vikram and this has not gone down well with many people. Popular transgender TV personality Rose Venkatesan told IANS “The way Shankar has portrayed Ojas’s character makes us look like some sex-starved individuals.”

The trans community held a dharna to which the police responded to with overwhelming force some even laughing as if transgender people were of no consequence.

தமிழ் திரையுலகத்தில் பிரம்மாண்டத்துக்கு பெயர் போனவராக சொல்லப்படும் இயக்குனர் சங்கர் 2015 பொங்கலுக்கு வெளியிட்ட விக்ரம் நடித்த “ஐ” என்ற திரைப்படத்தில் திருநங்கையரை மிகவும் வக்கிரமாக காட்டியிருப்பதைக் கண்டித்து 19.01.2015 அன்று சாஸ்திரி பவனில் உள்ள தணிக்கைக் குழுவின் அலுவலகம் முன்பு நடந்த ஆர்ப்பாட்டம். பல பாலினத்தவரும் தங்கள் உரிமைக்காக போராடி வெற்றிக் கொண்டிருக்கும் போது சங்கர் தனது ”ஐ” படத்தில் வலிய வைத்த வக்கிரங்களை எவ்வகையிலும் ஏற்றுக் கொள்ள முடியாது.

“Shankar didn’t try to demean my character as a transgender. In fact, he shot it so aesthetically that it doesn’t offend anybody, including the transgender community. It’s just part of a story of the film and I requested everybody to not get offended,” Ojas said in a statement

I is indeed beautifully choreographed. This trailer has over 1 million views since Jan. 5th. By all accounts I has done very well in the box office. Hopefully the the protests will raise awareness of how cisgender directors use problematic memes to portray transgender people like was done in I.

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Kelli, Busey is managing editor at Planet Transgender


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