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Transition from self-love

Updated on: 25 February,2024 07:08 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Priyanka Sharma |

With Love Beyond Labels—a short from Love Storiyaan—director Collin D’Cunha discusses what inspired him to tell the real-life story of a trans couple

Transition from self-love

Trans couple Dipan Chakraborty and Tista Das

Six love stories with one common theme—inclusivity. It was a no-brainer for debutant director Collin D’Cunha to tell a queer love story in the romantic anthology, Love Storiyaan, produced by Karan Johar’s Dharmatic Entertainment. The Amazon Prime Video series was curated by India Love Project—founded by former journalists Priya Ramani, Samar Halarnkar, and Niloufer Venkatraman. D’Cunha says that it was how his protagonists, trans couple Tista Das and Dipan Chakraborty, first learnt to fall in love with themselves before finding each other, that drew him.

D’Cunha says it was an important story to tell. “Our show creator, Somen Mishra, wanted the series to be inclusive. The first thing that struck me in their wedding video was how both Tista and Dipan were flashing the victory sign. It felt like a culmination of everything that they went through in life just to be able to get married,” says the director, who highlighted their journey from their individual childhood struggles with body dysphoria to eventual self-acceptance. “What spoke to me about their extraordinary story was that they had to find themselves and fall in love with themselves first. To find someone who loves them for who they are was a distant dream for them,” he says.

Collin D’CunhaCollin D’Cunha

Knowing that ignorance and discrimination against the transgender community still exist, D’Cunha wanted to take the audience inside the mind of a transgender person to make them understand what compels someone to discard the identity they are born with. “The audience will never understand the psyche of a trans individual. [That is why] I decided to speak about their childhood because a lot of trauma is set at that time,” said the director, who showcased imagined visuals of the couple’s childhood as they weren’t comfortable sharing their old photographs.

Love Beyond Labels is the only short where the couple’s courtship hasn’t been shown, except when the protagonists speak about it. He explains that Das and Chakraborty were transitioning during their courtship, and hence he used trans actors to represent their story. “Once the love story comes to the fore, the couple comes into the centre, but before that, I wanted the audience to know what it is to transition and then find love,” he says.


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