First Bengali film casting LGBT community awaits release

For the first time in a Bengali film, members of the LGBT community in West Bengal and Bangladesh have been cast in lead roles.

'Achena Bondhutta', a docu-feature, being shot by young journalist-turned-director Hrisikesh Mondal completed outdoor shooting recently.

The young director said that in a particular outdoor shot more then 100 members of the community participated.

Teesta, the lead actress who is a trans-sexual, said, "My role in 'Achena Bondhutto' is about the battle to gain acceptance and convince people that the LGBT community has many more things to do than clapping hands."

Teesta, who underwent a gender change operation years back to become a woman, says, "The film talks about how to treat everybody as human irrespective of the gender."

"There was a time when we were not considered safe on streets. Our fight for acceptance was then ridiculed; we had to be psychologically counselled. Above all there was a stigma attached to such films. But not in the same way now."

She said she drew inspiration from Rituparno Ghosh and his movie 'Chitrangada', noting that the famous director had also been a part of 'Arekti Premer Galpo', a film on homosexuality.

Director Hrisikesh Mondal, a former investigative TV reporter, said, "My encounters with such people during my journalistic stint had made me turn the focus on them and cast them in movie roles."

Mondal insisted that 'Achena Bondhuttwo' was not a documentary, it is a feature or at best a docu-feature. "My aim is to make the audience think over the issue -
namely identity of transgenders. This can only be done when there is a narrative," he explained.

The film's theme song has been sung by leading Bengali rock singers like Rupam Islam of Fossils, Sidhu of Cactus and Surojit Chatterjee of Bhoomi - all of whom have thrown their weight behind the project.

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