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Meet Anjali Ameer, first transsexual as lead lady in Indian cinema

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Meet Anjali Ameer, 1st transgender to share screen as lead lady
Pic credit Justin Antony

Bhubaneswar: Anjali Ameer, a transsexual from Kozhikode in Kerala, is the first one to play a female lead in the history of Indian cinema and that too against a superstar.

She is sharing screen space with no less than Malayalam superstar Mammootty.

Ram has directed the bilingual (Tamil and Malayalam) film which is set to be released later this year. While the Tamil version is called ‘Peranbu’, the Malayalam one is yet to be named.

“It was a great experience working with people like Mammootty and director Ram. To get a character with such a team was a great learning experience. Initially, I was intimidated, but Mammootty encouraged and supported me during the shoot,” said the model turned actress, as quoted by Indiatimes.

However, it did not happen all of a sudden for Ameer. She had to struggle hard to be accepted by her kin, society and even herself.

Anjali, who was born in an orthodox Muslim family, had lost her mother at an early age and her father a couple of years ago. Anjali said she always felt feminine and wanted to be a girl.

Indiatimes reported that Anjali underwent a sex change surgery at the age of 20.

“After completing my class 10th, I started trying to undergo this change. Initially, it wasn’t acceptable for my family. So, I ran away from home. I lived with transgender communities in Coimbatore and Bengaluru for the next couple of years. It was a period of real personal struggle,” she said adding, “my family accepted me for who I am and wanted me to come back home. They have been supportive and they are my strength.”

Meet Anjali Ameer, 1st transgender to share screen as lead lady
Pick credit Justin Antony

Speaking about acting, the first transsexual actor said it was a passion for her. As a kid, she used to take part in youth festivals and felt that acting was the best profession through which she can bring out her personality.

During her initial days of modelling, not many people, including her manager, knew that she was a transsexual. It was only after she was dropped from a TV show following a controversy that most of them came to know about her sexuality.

Anjali said she decided to reveal her sexuality as she did not want to “Act in life, as I am proud to be a transsexual. Since I have undergone a sex change, I am not transgender, I am transsexual, or a trans-woman”, she insists.

She, however, was very clear that she wanted to be known as an artist and not a transsexual artist.

“People don’t call Mammootty a male artist or Kavya Madhavan a female artist. So why should I be called a transsexual artist? I want to be called just an artist,” Anjali says.

With her first movie ready to hit the screens in December, 2017, Anjali has got a handful of offers from Tamil and Telugu too. She also wishes to try her luck in Bollywood, if any good roles come around.

(With inputs from indiatimes.com)