Neha ran away from her home town Tanjavur to Chennai at the age of 18 to stand on her own two feet. Now she is a proud recipient of the Kerala State Film Award for transgender actors instituted for the first time last year.
Ms. Neha said that her family members did not want her to stay with them. “My father beat me up when I told him that I want to live as a woman. So I fled to Chennai with my Plus Two certificate They still now think that we are a disgrace to the family,” she said.
Ms. Neha was given the special award for her first movie Antharam, where she portrayed the tribulations of Anjali, who moves from a street to lead a family life. The awards were announced last Friday.
“This is a recognition not only for me, but for all those transpersons who struggle to find their space in society, those who had to give up their life unable to stand the difficulties of the transition,” she told the media on Monday during a ‘meet the press’ organised by the Calicut Press Club.
“There are many artistes in the transgender community. But either they are not getting any platform to perform, or very few good roles are being offered. I got this chance when I was about to give up my life. It is like a miracle,” she said.
Ms. Neha said that through the role in Antharam, she had proved that transpersons could handle important roles. “Transpersons are given minor roles, such as in comedy scenes or those in song sequences. But changes are happening now,” she said.
P. Abhijith, photojournalist, who directed the movie, said that the award was also an indicator of how society had come to accept transpersons. Mohammed, the movie’s cinematographer, and press club functionaries were present.