For the first time ever in Bollywood, director Ram Kamal Mukherjee casted transgender Shree Ghatak in Celina Jaitlys comeback film Seasons Greetings (with Nation Next as the media partner).
In 2010, when Rituparno Ghosh wanted to cast an actor to play the role of a transgender, he didn’t get any actor who was willing to portray such character in a film. So out of compulsion, he had to act in Chitrangada and Aarekti Premer Galpo.
Recently, much acclaimed director Faraz Ansari of Sisak fame, was also scouting for an actor in Bollywood to cast in his forthcoming venture. Unfortunately he had also hit the roadblock. When director Ram Kamal Mukherjee decided to make Seasons Greetings (with Nation Next as the media partner), he was wondering if he would also face a similar roadblock to cast an actor in his film, which is a tribute to late filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh. It took almost a decade for Indian cinema to get a transgender actor, since Ritudas time, rues director Ram Kamal.
Incidentally, it was producer Aritra Das who had introduced Shree Ghatak Muhury to Ram Kamal, and then she was auditioned for the role of Chapala. It was difficult to cast a male actor or a female actor to play the role of a transgender in the film. Most actors have certain inhibition portraying the role that’s not gender specific, says director Ram Kamal Mukherjee.
Eventually, the director had to cast real life transgender Shree Ghatak as Chapala. This makes Shree Bollywoods first transgender actor. Incidentally, transgender artist Manabi played a crucial role in Kaushik Gangulys acclaimed Bengali film Nagarkirtan, and earlier Laxmi Tripathi played a pivotal role in a South Indian film, but Shree becomes Bollwyoods first transgender actor with Seasons Greetings.
I wanted someone who would believe in the character, and perform with great poise, aesthetic sense and justify it, says Ram Kamal. With this film, Ram Kamal sets a benchmark to the idea that sexual orientation need not be put into air-tight boxes and labeled; rather, should endure such sexual orientation.
Talking about her character, Shree says, Working with Ram Kamal was a learning experience, as he knew exactly what he wanted from me. He was very sure about my make-up, hair and costume. He wanted a particular look that would look real on screen. Mostly we have seen caricatures in the name of transgender characters in mainstream Bollywood movies. I was apprehensive before accepting the role, thinking that this must be a repetition of the same Bollywood trend. But when I heard the story, I had goose bumps and tears rolling down. I immediately agreed to be a part of this film.
Shree shares screen time with Lillette Dubey and Celina Jaitly in the film. Incidentally they bonded like friends during the workshop in Kolkata. Celina is such a sweetheart, I adore her for standing by the cause and making me feel comfortable at the shoot. Lilletteji is strict, a disciplinarian, which worked for me, because she would be very particular about her lines and my lines. I had to be on my toes, when I was sharing screen space with her, laughs Shree.
Without revealing much about her character in the film she says, It’s an important character that bonds the relationship between mother and daughter.
Shree is a terpsichorean, a theatre artist and also a social activist. Troyee foundation, a non-profit organisation run by Shree, specially works for the poor women, street children and LGBTQIA community. Besides that, Troyee Foundation has a cultural wing too, from which they try to provide a platform to the hidden talents. Shree had her social marriage legally solemnised through registration in 2017. She is married to her childhood friend Sanjay Muhury.
Producer Aritra Das says, I first met Shree through choreographer Sudarshan Chakravorty. We were then looking for an actor to cast for the character of Chapala. After I introduced Shree to Ram Kamal da, Lillete Dubey, Celina Jaitly, and everyone, appreciated the idea of casting a transgender actor for the role.
Shree believes that the tale of journey of every transgender or the third category people like her is almost same. They are being subjected to much ridicule and torture, taunted, stalked, harassed and even molested for their effeminate demeanor.
Sometimes the gesture from our society raises a question at our own being. Whether I am a he or a she? More than everything the parents of such children whose sexual orientation is different from the others faces humiliation. Transgender men and women face an incredible burden of discrimination in almost every aspect of their lives.
After undergoing surgery for sexual reassignment, she took up the name Shree. Breaking the stereotypes, she became the first transwoman who has a legally registered marriage. I always wanted myself to be counted among the other common person. I never wanted to be specified into any category. It was in 2015 when I underwent surgery for sexual reassignment and become a transwoman. Until then I was a woman in a male body?, Shree concludes.
Shashi Tharoor is capable of bringing Congress back in power, says Congress leader Ashish Deshmukh
Former MLA and Member of Parliamentary Board, MPCC Dr Ashish Deshmukh speaking about the nomination filed by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor for the post of Congress President on Friday, said, “Dr Shashi Tharoor is a popular Congress MP who has done remarkable work for the nation at the international level. It’s very welcoming thing that the election of Congress President is being done in a democratic manner. This is an important step for decentralisation in the party and the future of Congress is bright. Soniaji and Rahulji Gandhi contributed a lot to strengthen the party.”
Congress leader Deshmukh added, “This is an important step taken by the Congress elites for the elections in a democratic manner so that the party can take a higher flight. Dr Shashi Tharoor has cordial relations with everyone in the party; he has the ability to give a new direction to the party. I believe that he will be able to handle the responsibility of bringing the Congress to power in the country by taking the party forward with new strength. If he seriously deals with issues like unemployment, industry, agriculture, inflation then Congress will have fruitful days. By doing transparent politics, he will definitely convey the thought of Congress to the people at the grassroots level. If you want a rejuvenated, bigger and dynamic Congress party, Dr. Shashi Tharoor is the right candidate. He has the open support of Congress delegates in 12 states and is getting the support of Congress leaders and activists from all over India. He will be elected for sure.”
Deshmukh informed that Tharoor would be visiting Nagpur on October 1 and 2 to hear out all thoughts of Congress delegates.
Nagpur citizens to revel The Raaas Garba next year!
Since The Raaas enchanted and enthralled Nagpur with its quality garba in its first year in 2018, the demand for encore has been reverberating the city. To cater to the huge public demand, the organisers of the king of garbas have decided to continue The Raaas next year on. Like its first year, The Raaas Garba will be presented to Nagpur in association with Nation Next in 2023. Mahesh Kukreja, the key organiser said, “Because of some reasons, we, earlier, thought of giving the event a break.”
He added, “Then COVID-19 struck the world. Now we plan to continue it from next year onwards. While I express my gratitude to Nagpurians to make the event a huge hit, I request the city’s garba revellers to not get fooled as a few garbas are falsely claiming to be The Raaas. We’ll be back next year for sure!”
Mesmerising sunset hues at Ramtek’s Ambala Lake in Nagpur
Ambala Lake in Ramtek city wore a dazzling look at the golden hour of sunset. The verdant surrounding of the lake flanked by the old and famous Shiv temple, lends a soothing and religious aura to the city known for its old heritage and mythological significance.