Friday, 19 February 2016

Interview with Tista Das


Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Tista Das, who is an Indian actress, social activist, transgender advocate, and icon of empowerment and choice for the transgender community in India. Hello Tista!
Tista: Hello Monika.
Monika: When did you decide to pursue an acting career?
Tista: I wanted to pursue a career in acting from my childhood days. While viewing a movie, there were quite a number of occasions in which I fantasized myself with the on screen heroines like Suchitra Sen or Sharmila Tagore. I used to imitate them, like the way they pout or walk or look at heroes.
I was like every girly girl since my childhood, with anatomical difference. Every night before falling asleep, I used to pray before god to align my body with my soul.
Monika: Which actresses or movies are your inspirations?
Tista: Suchitra Sen. Sharmila Tagore. I liked their all movies almost.
Isn't she beautiful?
Monika: You acted in Buddhadeb Dasgupta's, documentary - I Could Not Be Your Son, Mom …
Tista: It was like a dream come true to be able to work under one of the finest directors of world cinema. The film talks about the growing up years of a woman who was trapped in a male body. The documentary was directed by Sohini Dasgupta.
Monika: Your other project was a role in Subrata Dutta’s 45-minute film The Third Gender?
Tista: Yes, The Third Gender is about a story of Tista, who has a male lover, who wants to marry her. They face tremendous challenge, as society and family including political leadership are against this marriage. So the protagonist Tista must go under the knives in order to change her sex. The movie attempts to unfold a complicated story of a feminine boy.
Monika: Could you also elaborate on your lead role in Beyond Reflections, a movie about your life, directed by Umesh Bist?
Tista: This was again a documentary film about Tists’s poignant journey of becoming herself. The film depicts about Tista’s journey against gender stereotyping and how she triumphs against all odds.
Monika: Almost every girl has one single dream to get married someday. What are your wedding dreams like?
Tista: To me marriage is graduating to the next level of life. To be accepted by someone special and by his close family members. Moreover marriage is a social bond. It’s like receiving a stamp of approval. Dating can be frustrating for a woman.
She wants someone to sweep her off her feet.
After going through many mismatches, a dream wedding is like getting someone special who is not afraid to let everyone know that look she is stamped as chosen life partner for the entire world to see. Yes, I have many wedding fantasy, but unfortunately my search is still on.
Monika: What is your general view on transgender stories or characters which have been featured in films, newspapers or books so far?
Tista: I like reading stories about transgender, and have watched a few films on them. There are quite a few good films on the subject.
Transgender erotica (Not Porn) is also something that calls for my attention.
I love reading stories on fiction mania, which is a platform dedicated for us. But porn, stories or films about transgender persons, where it devalues our community is a strict no-no for me.
Monika: Is there anything like transgender art? What does it mean to be a transgender artist?
Tista:I think there should not be something like transgender art. Yet there are many transgender artists. I myself am a published poet.
Who would have thought this pretty boy was
born to become a gorgeous woman someday?
Monika: At that time of your transition, did you have any transgender role models that you followed?
Tista: I read about April Ashley. She is quite a beauty. I admire her a lot. Of late I came to know about Amelia Maltepe (You know, she too is a Bengali like me) and Carmen Carrera. Both of them are gorgeous like hell.
Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?
Tista: My family stood beside me after initial denial. The biggest difficulty was arranging funds for surgery. But I did that successfully. Thank God. I am now a complete woman. 
Monika: What do you think about the present situation of transgender women in the Indian society?
Tista: The situation is same everywhere. Being transgender today means struggling for visibility and acceptance. Our society is cruel to us.
Monika: Could transgenderism be the new frontier for human rights?
Tista: Of course, it can.
Monika: Are you active in politics? Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Tista: No. I am not into active politics. Neither have I participated in any lobbying company. In India there are women from our community who are into active politics. I am an animal activist and I care for street animals.
Monika: Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life?
Tista: The importance of love is immense. I am sincerely looking forward for someone who will love me till the end, who will accept me as I am. But if I fail to get one for myself, there is no regret. At least I have fulfilled one dream and that is to be myself.
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the sexiest of them all?
Monika: Do you like fashion? What kind of outfits do you usually wear? Any special fashion designs, colours or trends?
Tista: Regarding fashion I am like every girly girl. I wear sarees, salwars, leggings and what not. I experiment with makeups and I love getting dolled up by some good makeup artists. I have worked with many makeover artist of international repute; Mickey Contractor was one of them.
Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
Tista: I write poetry. Poetry is one of my biggest passions besides acting. I have not yet decided to write a book of my own, but I would definitely like someone to pen down an account on my life. Even a big fat fairy tale like wedding fiction with a billionaire where Tista is a cute sexy bride is OK for me. Lol.
Monika: Are you working on any new projects now?
Tista: Yes, I am acting in a few film projects. Let’s keep it a secret for the time being. 
Monika: What would you recommend to all transgender girls, dreaming about being a film director?
Tista: Who am I to recommend them? They have to prove themselves to be so good that they don’t need any recommendation from me.
Monika: Tista, thank you for the interview!

All the photos: courtesy of Tista Das.
Done on 19 February 2016
© 2016 - Monika 

1 comment:

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