Ayushmann Khurrana says ‘trans girl should be the lead’ in Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui sequel: ‘Vaani believes that as well’
A Story by Jasmine Kaur
In his latest release, Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui, Ayushmann Khurrana continues to appear in progressive cinema. The film, which starred Vaani Kapoor, dealt with the theme of gender identity. In the story, a weight-lifting champion falls in love with a Zumba trainer who is also transgender. Most reviews for the film have been positive, although it has drawn criticism for the lack of representation of the trans community in the cast.
Ayushmann told Bollywood Hungama that the film should ideally be left alone, but added, “If there’s a sequel, we should go for representation, a trans girl should star.” This is just a conversation-starter, and Vaani is of the same opinion.”
Ayushmann spoke about the feedback they have received from the trans community. “Getting validation from the leaders in the community says a lot. At the same time, you need a trailer that gives a lot of intrigue at the beginning. There will be a lot of comments from the community. As an ally, we’re all learning. “This film is just an introduction for people, just as the first step.”
The actor opened up about the criticism and backlash the film received ahead of its release in an interview with India Today. “That will always happen,” he said. It’s important to watch the film first. In response to the trailer, there was some backlash from woke intellectuals who are skeptical of Bollywood. Since time immemorial, trans people haven’t been portrayed well. After watching the film, I am glad that the community is happy and has accepted it. It’s the biggest validation for us.”
Earlier, director Abhishek Kapoor had spoken about why he didn’t find it necessary to cast a trans person in the role played by Vaani. He told Indian Express, “We went through many avenues and there was a thought about casting a trans person but you know I find everyone is so fascinated just by actors. Why is it that everything is legitimised by an actor? Why can’t a trans person write the film? Why can’t a trans person direct the film? First of all, this fascination is incorrect. Films are not made by actors; they are made by filmmakers and writers. Eventually, there is a representation by an individual actor but I try to see above this because there is a story to be told. You have to reach out to people at large by taking the story to them and I thought this was the best way to take this story there. When you talk to someone, you have to talk to them in their language.”
Abhishek Kapoor had previously spoken about why he did not deem it necessary to cast a transgender actor in the role played by Vaani. As he told Indian Express, “We went through several avenues and there was a thought about casting a transgender person, but everyone is so fascinated by actors.”. Why must everything be legitimised by an actor? The film can’t be written by a trans person. Why can’t a trans person direct it? First of all, this fascination is incorrect. Films are not made by actors, but by filmmakers and writers. Eventually, there is a representation by an individual actor, but I try to see past this because there is a story to tell. I thought this would be the best way to reach out to the general public with this story. When you talk to someone, you should speak in their language.”
“We simply wanted to normalize this and break stereotypes. When we were growing up, we built up this perception. We don’t need to live by the reference points we saw in films and shows in today’s society. That is an inaccurate representation.
“A man wearing a woman’s saree is not the correct representation of a trans girl.”. “Trans girls are just as stunning, adorable, and ‘normal’ as any other cis girl,” Vaani told PTI.
When Maanvi’s lover, played by actor Ayushmann Khurrana, comes to realize that she is trans, the romantic drama flips the boy-meets-girl trope.
While the film, which opened in cinema halls last week, was met with a positive response,there was a section that felt a transgender charactershould ideally play transgender characters.
Vaani began an important conversation in the hope that one day actors in the community will be allowed to play characters of all kinds, not just those limited to their identities.
There is only visual reference from a man who pretends to be a transgender girl. So, for a cis girl to play the role would make the majority of the audience think that this is the depiction of a trans girl like, that it is not a man in a saree.