KARACHI: Upcoming short-film Rani doesn’t require an introduction. As transgender activist Kami Sid’s first ever project, the film is a unique story a transgender Pakistani woman who sets out to take care of an abandoned baby.
But living in the heart of Karachi, Rani (Kami) faces many challenges in the process, determined as she may be to always do what is right.
After scoring several international screenings and awards, the fifteen minute film is finally set to premiere at the Karachi Literary Festival (KLF), which will be held from March 1 to March 3.
“I’m very excited that Rani is finally releasing in Pakistan,” Kami told The Express Tribune, at a special screening. “It’s our film; it’s a film for our people. I’m very glad that I’m a part of this.”
Talking about why a story like this is necessary for the Pakistani audience, Kami said, “Rani has already won so many accolades internationally. I think it’s imperative for our people to see it because I think it’s a very close issue. It’s a film about transgenders and motherhood.”
According to the actor, “People still tend to hide a lot of important topics in our films and dramas. Usually projects on subjects like these are either attacked by critics or stopped by Pemra. But Rani? It prominently showcases the life of a transgender in Pakistan.”
Kami also spoke about her experience of working in Pakistani showbiz. “It was my first film. I’ve worked in several documentaries before but working in Rani was completely different,” she said. “The director of Rani, Hammad Rizvi, was extremely supportive of everything. He was very patient. He taught me a lot of things like angles and postures.”
So what’s next for Kami? “One that I’ve been doing lately is working in fashion mostly. Hopefully, you’ll see me somewhere in a huge fashion show. For now, my focus is completely on trying out new things,” she responded. “I’m also working on a transgender love story. I’m not in a hurry, nor is films production being stopped. I’ve few offers but my primary goal is to see how I can highlight the issues of the transgender community. I’m from that community and that will always be my goal.”
Discussing the vision behind Rani, Rizvi revealed, “When I first started the film, I had few things that I wanted to talk about which included the transgender community, orphans and generally those who are underrepresented. If you forget all labels after watching this film, then for me that’s success.”
Rani is all about breaking stereotypes. Herein, Kami is shown as someone who sells toys to make her ends meet. In Pakistan, it’s a common perception that trans people are only meant to entertain at functions. Rani does a commendable job of breaking that.
Another important issue the film sheds light is adoption.”We have Bilquis Edhi on board,” the producer of the award-winning documentary, Akbar Allana, said. “She will be one of the panelists at the KLF. We wanted to raise awareness about this, along with transgender awareness.”
Rani has won the Outstanding Writer Award at the NBC Universal Short Film Festival and the Fox Inclusion Award at Outfest LA.
It also bagged an Ursula gender-bender award for Best Short Film at Lesbisch Schwule Filmtage (International Queer Film Festival) in Hamburg and been screened at numerous other international events like the Newport Beach Film Festival, Rhode Island Film Festival, New York Asian American Film Festival, Seattle Tasveer, CAAMFEST, and many more.
Rani is scheduled to have its premiere on March 3. It is also the first Pakistani film to be featured on internet streaming giant Hulu.
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