Published: 21st August 2019
This Kerala filmmaker's docu 'Marubhumiyile Mazha' portrays the struggles of transgender people
Jesu Joseph James directed the documentary 'Marubhumiyile Mazha' portraying the lives of three transgender people who overcame all their struggles
Almost a year after the historical revocation of Section 377 from the Indian Penal Code, our society has seen many known personalities including Dutee Chand and lawyers Menaka Guruswamy and Arundhati Katju come out of the proverbial closet boldly. But are the voices of the people belonging to the community actually heard? What really happens in the life of transgenders? Jesu Joseph James, a freelance documentary filmmaker from Kerala, went on a journey to find out and documented the lives of three transgenders in Thiruvananthapuram, focusing on their struggle for existence in the Malayalam documentary Marubhumiyile Mazha (Rain in the Desert).
Explaining the struggles the transgender community faces, he says, "They were truly happy that we treated them well. That openly indicates how others don't. But Kerala is a state where they are given opportunities through various schemes. So who is the problem here? It's the society that you and I are a part of. The irony is that if you take the epics, there are characters like Shikhandi, Ardhanarishvara and Mohini, who was Lord Vishnu's incarnation, whom many worship. But when it comes to real life, why are we reluctant to accept them?" asks the 24-year-old.
Although there is reluctance, things have positively changed in cities and this young documentary filmmaker tries to cover their life as it is in the capital city of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram. The primary aim was to give a helping hand to the members of the community and encouraging them by showing them few success stories of people who have fought for their rights and won. "The first person we met was Ishaan, who is a trans-man. He crossed several hurdles and recently married Surya. They are the first transgender couple to get married in Kerala. The second person we met was Karthika, who was born Karthik. She is currently participating in several beauty pageants. We are happy for them as we know the struggles they faced. The third person we spoke to was Vineetha. We tried to show the unique talents they possess" he says proudly.
If they have to achieve greater heights, our support is predominant. Just our positive approach can create wonders. That is why the film was titled Marubhumiyile Mazha which roughly translates to 'rain in the desert'. In a desert, we don't see much life. Rain can create magic for those living beings. In this case, our positivity can be the rain in their life." concludes Jesu.