In Search Of A Transgender Actor: A Filmmaker's Journey To Create Inclusive Spaces

After spending months in search, across continents, Ansari realised he had to take things in his own hands to create a shift.

When filmmaker Faraz Arif Ansari set out to cast the lead role in his debut feature film Sabr, he had no idea what an ordeal it would turn out to be. The director of India’s first silent LGBTQ love story Sisak, Ansari wanted to cast a trans actor to undertake the journey of a trans woman in his film. Even though several young transgender models were interested, Ansari needed someone older for his character.

After spending months in search, across continents, Ansari realised that the reason he was having such a tough time finding someone age-appropriate for the role was because young transgender people are rarely given opportunities to flourish and go further in life.

This is precisely why, Ansari, in association with the Keshav Suri Foundation, came up with the idea to create an exclusive acting workshop for India’s transgender community. In this one-of-a-kind workshop, called TRANSaction, participants will not only get free acting lessons but also get an opportunity to mingle with industry insiders.


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Beyond thrilled with the fabulous line up of wonderful folx for #TRANSaction: Free Acting Workshops for the Indian Transgender Community. Excited & cannot wait to venture on this wonderful journey _ Please share & help us reach out to a wider community. PS: If you identify as LGBTQIA+, please feel free to register for the same _ Download the @thedeltaapp to register now / email: Please spread the word ___ | Poster by the fabulous @surya.vis.worxx . . . . . . #TransisBeautiful #TransRightsAreHumanRights #Transgender #India #IncredibleIndia #QueerIndia #LGBT #LGBTQ #Queer #LoveWins #LoveisLove #LGBTQIA #Bollywood #Delhi #DelhiTimes #Mumbai #Mumbai_Igers #DelhiDiaries

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The first leg of this TRANSaction workshop was conducted in New Delhi from 1st to 3rd March. Headed by Ansari, the workshop also had mentors like Charu Shankar, Gourab Ghosh, Baatein & Team.

We spoke to some of the participants at this workshop to gain an insight into their takeaway from the event. One of the noteworthy participants was activist Rudrani Chettri, who runs India’s first transgender modelling agency and heads the Mitr Trust, which has been working with the LGBTQ community for over a decade now to provide safe spaces and create better opportunities. She said, “The best thing which I can gather from my personal experience is that there are no boundaries when it’s about learning. There’s no straight or trans when it comes to being an artist. I’ve a character role in Vikas Khanna’s The Last Colour, it’s a beautiful script and I’m happy about this character because for a very long time we’ve seen the transgender community is so misrepresented and they are caricatured.”

rudrani chettri, last colour, vikas khanna

Rudrani Chettri in a still from The Last Colour

Speaking about how the three-day-long workshop helped, Neetu, who is also associated with the Mitr Trust and has acted in short films and documentaries before, said, “I never got to learn this much about acting or enhance my skills anywhere else that I could go after for some bigger project.”

The second leg of the workshop will take place in Mumbai from 8th to 10th March and is supposed to be attended by the likes of Divya Dutta, Kavish Sinha, and Kalki Koechlin to conduct sessions with the participants. Here’s hoping that they open the kind of avenues for its participants that Ansari intended.