Kathmandu: A Nepali documentary that portrays the highs and lows of a transgender woman from the Terai has bagged the Best Overall Production at the Pride of the Deise, an Ireland-based film festival.
Titled Blues of Pink, the documentary tells the story of Sapana Mandal—a transgender performer well-versed in acting and dancing. The documentary follows her as she performs in theaters and orchestras around Nepal.
The documentary is directed by Grishma Giri, who worked as a volunteer coordinator at the Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival (KIMFF) for four years. Giri is 25 and this is his first directorial.
Giri said that while working at the KIMFF, he got an opportunity to watch a variety of films on the transgender issue. He found that almost all the movies on trans issue were Kathmandu-centric, mostly the stereotypical portrayal of sex workers. It was as if being a transgender person was to be a sex worker. As a native of Terai, Giri was well aware that the reality was much different. He was familiar with the lifestyle of transgender people from his hometown in Birgunj.
“I knew there existed another side of transgender people’s lifestyle, one so often ignored by the films that I watched,” Giri said. “I wanted to provide a fresh perspective about them. So I made Blues of Pink.”
The documentary tells the story of Sapana Mandal—a transgender performer well-versed in acting and dancing. The documentary follows her as she performs in theaters and orchestras around Nepal.
The 30-minute long documentary was filmed in Janakpur. It chronicles Mandal’s story while she goes about her life—from a broken marriage to an understanding relationship, from the desire to raise a child to not being able to watch the child grow up, from giving blessings to thinking that their life is a curse, as the film’s synopsis notes.
“The lead character of the documentary, Sapana, is a representation of many other transgenders from the Terai,” Giri said.
The transgender community of the Terai is very diverse unlike in the hilly region, Giri said. They have a certain culture and practices that have been an integral part of their identity and their work, which connects them with the rest of society.
Giri believes that there is a great necessity of producing works on trans issues. “Representation of trans people on screens makes people aware about the ground reality and gives a more nuanced perspective on the subject,” he said.