Transgender model Anjali Ameer, who transformed herself into a woman by undergoing a sex reassignment surgery is in great joy. The 21-year-old Coimbatore-based Malayali model is the first transgender actress from the state, to act as a heroine in a mainstream Malayalam movie.
In a candid conversation on the sidelines of 21st edition of International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), the native of Thamarassery, Kozhikode shares her experience during shoot and her upcoming projects with SouthLive.
The 21st edition of IFFK claims to be the first ever transgender-friendly movie festival of its kind. How do you see this?
I can feel the difference. It is quite evident by the huge number of delegates from my community, which is something unprecedented. And most importantly, people started to deal with us with naturally. I feel very happy to come over here and see a lot of like-minded people who love cinema and promote it to the core.
Coming to you, you opted to become a woman physically at the age of 20 and now you have worked in a mainstream Malayalam movie. Was your journey easy?
Not at all. At a time I decided to undergo the surgery and become a woman mentally and physically, people accepting the LGBTQ community were very less. I had to migrate to Tamil Nadu to find opportunities as a transgender model.
But I always wanted to be an actor. My hard works paid off and got offers in some Tamil movies. That opened my path to Malayalam films to start with a movie as the heroine, opposite of Mammootty. The shooting for the movie named Peranbu is over and dubbing is on. The flick directed by Ram and produced by P. L. Thenappan will have its Tamil version as well. Music is composed by Yuvan Shankar Raja.
How was the shooting experience and working with senior actors like Mammootty?
It was a superb learning experience for me as a budding artist. I was literally afraid when I first saw Mammukka (Mammootty). But, it was very comfortable working with him since he helped me through all possible ways.
Director Ram, who made a couple of critically-acclaimed movies , was also very supportive. He is such a genius who does not even write down the script of the movie he wanted to make. That was always in his heart.
Does this movie deal with the issues faced by LGBTQ community?
That I can not reveal. You will have to wait for the release and watch for yourself (smiles). I can make one thing clear that I will accept all good offers come on my way, whether its story is around LGBTQ issues or not. Since I am an artist, I can not make my choices based on it.
Now, I have received an offer from well-known Tamil director Shravan. I have also got a couple of offers for some horror movies. I don’t know whether I was picked due to my look (laughs).
How do you evaluate your profession as a model?
I believe I had a wonderful career as a model since I was able to take part in many noted fashion shows. I have also worked in some advertisements. This helped me to ease my way to the movies.
Are you interested in activism?
I really admire LGBTQ activists who fight for our rights . But, I personally believe that I am not up to that standard since I don’t have the quality of an activist. The only thing I can do is to represent my community by doing the thing I loved doing the most. That is acting.