Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus Gangubai Kathiawadi starring Alia Bhatt in the lead is going global with its premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival. However, casting Vijay Raaz in the transgender role has caused quite a stir in the country. Now Miss Transqueen India Navya Singh talks about it.
A long-standing debate had engulfed Bollywood about casting actors for certain roles. Netizens have been asking why wasn’t a trans woman considered for the role of transwoman role instead of Vaani Kapoor in Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui, or Kubbra Sait in Sacred Games.
Now ever since the Gangubai Kathiawadi trailer was released, much social media users have been asking the same question of why not cast a transwoman for Vijay Raaz’s role in the film. Miss Transqueen India, Navya Singh now raises the same question and slammed the filmmakers for categorically ignoring the trans community in films.
During a conversation with ETimes, Singh said, “Why are Vijay Raaz, Vaani Kapoor or Kubbra Sait playing trans? Does Bollywood not accept us as actors? Where is Ekta Kapoor? Where is Rashmi Sharma of ‘Shakti’, where is Sanjay Leela Bhansali, where is Karan Johar when it comes to equal opportunities for us? If you do not want to accept us for trans roles, accept us for roles of women. It is high time we rewrite conventional rules and accept us as part of society. We need our dignity. We have earned it. I challenge Bollywood… give us the chance and we will prove we are more than equal to any biological woman. After all, what we feel within is a matter of heart.”
Previously, Alia Bhatt spoke about Vijay Raaz being cast for the transgender role ‘Raziabai’ in Gangubai Kathiawadi during a conversation with Deadline. She said, “I have heard this conversation various times for different films. While I do understand where they’re coming from, I feel like it’s up to the director and their vision. It’s not there to offend anyone, maybe the director found it interesting to have an actor like Vijay Raaz, who identifies as male, play a trans character. The audience has never seen him that way, you see the actor and the ability to transform within that person. I think that’s a better perspective, but I do understand where people are coming from.”