KARACHI: As the society becomes more conscious of its issues and more people raise their voices against injustice, these issues are slowly being addressed. And television, as much as social media, has a big role to play in it. So, it’s apt that the Pakistani drama industry is addressing these topics and educating people.
Express Entertainment, in collaboration with Talent Hub and Gold Bridge Media production house, has cast the first transgender model and activist Kami Sid in their upcoming play, Dil e Nadan. The play revolves around a transgender and her relationship with the society.
Speaking with The Express Tribune, Sid discussed starring in the drama and how it’d help her cause of changing the image of transgender community. “I have been offered roles before in television, but they always wanted me to do dance numbers and reinforce the stereotypical image of transgenders. That’s why I didn’t do any of them,” she said. “For Dil e Nadan, it was different. In fact, the story was shaped into what it is after we met and discussed how it’s supposed to not do the same schtick.”
She shared that her character in Dil e Nadan is also named Kami. “This is a human story about me and how a community where I live supports me. I feel it’s great that Talent Hub is giving opportunities to all genders and all kinds of people.”
Being an activist, Sid has slowly gained a kind of mainstream appreciation. She gives talks, is part of panel discussions and consistently creates awareness for equal treatment of transgender. “I’m just a human like you and everyone,” she said. “I want my community to grow and be accepted as equals but most people are quite narrow-minded. I want to highlight the fact that we are not different on a grander scale and target the society. That’s why I go to universities and colleges and talk to students. They are the ones who will bring change.”
As for Dil e Nadan, asked whether people were ready to see a transgender on screen and not feel uncomfortable as they usually do out of habit, she said, “Of course, they are ready. They invite transgenders to their weddings. They use them for their personal satisfaction so, why not?”
Although she is okay with transgenders who want to sing and dance even on screen, she said she was not willing to do it because she had a cause to protect. “I may dance like Madhuri Dixit but don’t want to do this on screen. I have to represent my community in a positive manner and it’d be weird if I do such a role and then go to colleges and talk to kids about changing our image.”
She said the media is going to help portray transgenders in a different, more human way and this was the reason Dil e Nadan was important. “Apart from this, I am trying to hunt transgender talent and give them opportunities.
Recently, Loreal hired a transgender with my help. So, I believe more of such efforts should be made. And then, I’d also like to see transgenders not just typecast as transgender characters, but also regular male/female characters on screen too.”
This raises an interesting query in the light of minorities being cast more in Hollywood projects now, in contrast with how white male actors would often play them in the past. Similarly, a male or female playing a transgender or vice versa might be offensive to either party. Addressing the question, Sid said it would not be “if they do proper, extensive research and do justice to our community and not stereotype us.” She agreed that the same rule goes for transgender people playing other characters.
Lastly, she said she hopes Dil e Nadan helps in portraying a more human side of transgenders to the public. The play airs on Express Entertainment, commencing November 6 at 8:30pm, Monday to Friday.
Have something to add to the story? Share it in the comments below.