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?|
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.|
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?
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.
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.
|Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the sexiest of them all?|