Published: 01st January 2020
This transgender short film is on an award-winning spree. Here's why
En Aval is a Tamil short film is the second short film of Tiruppur-based Parthiban Anbarasu that revolves around the events in the life of a man after he undergoes a sex reassignment surgery
We recently celebrated the first anniversary of the successful scrapping of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. The verdict, which was announced on September 6, 2018, decriminalised homosexuality and literally changed the lives of the LGBTQIA+ community. However, the acceptance of members of the community by society still remains a question. Focusing on love and acceptance beyond gender differences, a team from Tirupur released a 14-minute-long Tamil short film titled En Aval, which has been continuously bagging awards at film festivals. "We wanted to show how a person's love matters way more than their gender. We tried to show the life of the transgender community in a positive light," says the director and scriptwriter Parthiban Anbarasu, who wanted to express the idea in a precise manner.
Discussing the storyline of the short film in detail, Parthiban explains that it revolves around the life of a young couple. "The story begins with a couple in a live-in relationship. Suddenly, the guy becomes frustrated for unexplained reasons and leaves the woman. She tries to find him but her mission ends in vain, until she fortuitously meets him again a few months later and is shocked to see him as a transgender. But the woman then understands the reason for his frustrations," shares the 28-year-old. While in the relationship, the man realises that he feels trapped in the male body he was born with and opts to get sex reassignment surgery to finally feel happy in his own skin.,"After a few emotional scenes, the woman chooses to accept him as she had loved the person in him and his gender could not stop her from loving him," narrates the director, who kept it minimal and used only two characters to deliver this powerful message of love beyond gender.
Young actors Naveen Kumar and Suveta Shrimpton essayed the lead roles and Parthiban tells us that the duo almost lived their characters' lives. "It was difficult to find a female lead as most of them couldn't accept the concept," he says. Talking about the male lead, Parthiban says, "To give a different appearance, Naveen transformed his body to look slimmer. This helped us get a unique look when he came out as transgender. The actor was so involved in the character that he took two days to come out of it. Such was the team's dedication towards the story and message." Although the main scenes were shot in just five days, there was a gap of two months in between the shoot to showcase the transformation of the main character. Parthiban added that his music director SreRam Anand and editor R Kalaivanan were his source of encouragement throughout the making of the film.
Viewers' feedback, Parthiban says, was much more than he expected as many of them were thoroughly engaged till the end of the film. As if that was not enough of an achievement for the director and his team, they are adding more feathers to their cap. The film has already bagged awards at the Second National-Level Transgender Film Festival and Short Film Competition at Madurai - where the film was screened for the first time in November 2019 - Kozhikode School of Journalism's 'Thiranottam Short Film Festival 2019' and the Short Film Festival 2019 by Mani Film Studio at Krishnagiri under various nominations.