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20 Sep 2020, Edition - 1895, Sunday

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A downtrodden community shines at film festival

Jiji Ann Cherian

Thiruvananthapuram: The 6th edition of the Female Film Festival held at Thiruvananthapuram had many surprises, including the presence of popular Malayalam film personalities like director Kamal and actor Urvashi at the inaugural session.

The fest, organised by the Sthree Padana Kendram, was not just about women directors and stories concerning women, but also incorporated films that spoke candidly about the issues faced by the transgender community here.

Young director P Abhijith stood out with ‘Avalilekkulla Dhooram’, his documentary on transgenders, which revolves around the lives of one family in Kerala with five transgender members, Soorya, Harini, Billu, Miya and Mikha. “I’ve actually strived to provide a platform for the otherwise ignored community,” says Abhijith, who travelled across India documenting their lives and struggles.
His visually descriptive book titled ‘Hijra’, published a couple of years back, was among the first in Kerala to look deep into the trapped lives of the Hijras.

“Things have really improved now with government policies made in favour of them,” he added.

Another interesting film describing the same topic from a different perspective was Mujeer Pasha’s ‘Project Indian Bride’, a 30-minute film about a transgender who gets photographed as a bride. “I wanted a trans person to play the role and not drag up a male as often seen in other films,” says Pasha.

Women-centric films by women filmmakers were also a hit at the festival, particularly Shilpa Krishna Shukla’s endearing ‘Pularum Iniyum Naalekal’, which told the story of a chance meeting between former lovers Anthony and Durga.

The film has been selected to 17 film festivals and won four awards. Shilpa, who started filmmaking as a hobby, feels that short films are great media to express world views and bring in a female perspective to stories.

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