Alia Bhatt responds to criticism over Vijay playing trans woman in Gangubai

Alia Bhatt responds to criticism over Vijay playing trans woman in Gangubai

Alia Bhatt responds to criticism over Vijay playing trans woman in Gangubai

Vijay Raaz playing trans woman in Gangubai

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After the trailer for Gangubai Kathiawadi was released earlier this month, many people were upset that Vijay Raaz was cast in the film to play a trans woman. Razia Bai, Gangubai’s competitor in the film, is played by Vijay, who is a cis-gender guy in real life.

A few people turned to social media to express their unhappiness with the casting, asking why a trans woman wasn’t considered for a part.

Transgender and homosexual performers already face a paucity of possibilities and roles in Bollywood. During a recent interview, Alia Bhatt, the film’s lead actress, was asked about it.

Speaking to Deadline, Alia said that who is cast in which role is just the director’s perspective. “I have heard this conversation various times for different films. While I do understand where they’re coming from, I feel like it’s up to the director and their vision. It’s not there to offend anyone, maybe the director found it interesting to have an actor like Vijay Raaz, who identifies as male, play a trans character. The audience has never seen him that way, you see the actor and the ability to transform within that person. I think that’s a better perspective, but I do understand where people are coming from,” she said.

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Gangubai Kathiawadi is about a madam of a brothel who rises to great power in Mumbai’s Kamathipura neighbourhood. Speaking about taking on the role and whether it made her nervous Alia said, “Yes, but it’s not that sex workers haven’t been in our cinema in the past. It’s not the most commercial subject, but there have been films made on this subject. I think if you give the audience a really good character, where they come from or who they are becomes secondary. I wasn’t reluctant at all, at the heart of this film are a lot of powerful social points. It’s an underdog story, a story of struggle. Wherever you come from, I think everyone can connect to a story of rising from struggle.”

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