I remember watching the film, Mary Kom with just one thought: that while Priyanka Chopra was absolutely brilliant, she wasn’t the right choice to play the celebrated boxer. All that make-up, similar hair cuts, and building a specific body repulsed me than convince that Priyanka Chopra could look like a north-eastern. So many people questioned why they couldn’t cast a Manipuri actress?
Fast forward to Amazon Prime’s super successful show Pataal Lok that will be hailed for is its exceptional casting. Especially that they got a transgender to play the role of one.
In an interview with the casting director that sought out all these brilliant actors for the show, Abhishek Banerjee shared how casting for the role of Cheeni was the biggest challenge because they only wanted a transgender actor to play this role.
“Her name is Mairembam Ronaldo Singh, but I used to call her Ronaldo. I don’t know whether this is a spoiler, but she is a transgender. We needed a trans person for this part and we needed a Manipuri. This is a difficult challenge for casting directors,” Banerjee said.
“So Nikita Grover (my casting associate as well as the girl who plays the female cop in the show) went to Manipur, found out local theatre groups, and found this gem of an actor. It’s the biggest win for us as a casting company to date. More than Mairembam, I think it’s our pleasure to get her first screen role as an actor. Of course, she had pressure from her family. We went and convinced them. One special trip went into just getting her convinced, after which we got her to Mumbai.”
“We tried to make her feel comfortable as much as possible. And she did a brilliant job. We are a country of 130 crores. If we say that we don’t have such people in India to play that character then it’s a problem. The responsibility of casting directors is not to cast only people who are working, or whoever is visible or is in your circle. Their job is to find actors. If they are not doing that, then they are running a dukaan,” concluded Abhishek Banerjee.
This is a huge step in terms of representation for the transgender community. It opens up tightly shut doors which is a huge victory and we can’t wait to see real people bring alive real characters!
#paatallok #cheeni #mairembamronaldosingh #transwomen #transgender #amazonprime #primevideo