"What can one expect from Bollywood?"
Former Miss Universe and Bollywood star Sushmita Sen is returning to screens with another web series – this time a biopic titled, Taali – Bajaungi Nahi, Bajwaungi.
The upcoming web series is based on the life of famous Indian trans activist Gauri Sawant.
On October 6, 2022, Sushmita Sen took to her Instagram to reveal the first look at her upcoming project.
Clad in a red and green saree, she is seen staring at the camera with a huge maroon bindi on her forehead.
Proud to essay the character of Gauri Sawant, the former Miss Universe wrote:
“Taali (won’t clap, will ask others to clap). Nothing makes me prouder and more grateful than to have the privilege of portraying this beautiful person and of bringing her story to the world!”
The Main Hoon Na actor further added: “Here’s to life and to everyone’s right to live it with dignity! I love you guys!” with the hashtags #firstlook as #ShreeGauriSawant on her post.
While her sister-in-law, actor Charu Asopa is “proud” of her along with some of her fans, others called out makers for casting Sushmita to depict the story of a trans person instead of casting an actual trans actor.
A user wrote on Twitter: “Why is a cis straight woman playing a trans character? What year is it, 1995? Get trans actors for trans roles.”
Another Tweet read: “We have aspiring Transgender women in this country. Why can’t they have the chance to play roles that represent them?”
Sushmita Sen also received flak in the comment section of her post.
Another user commented: “I can literally offer a long list of transgender actors who have done exemplary work.
“But well, what can one expect from Bollywood?”
Indian stand-up comedian Navin Noronha shared: “Not your story to tell sis.”
Another user, from the LGBTQ+ community, felt misrepresented: “I love you and your work and your positivity.
“However belonging to the LGBTQ+ community, I do not think this is ok.”
“I do not say that you ‘stole’ the role, however, a woman of your stature and intellect should have immediately understood after reading the script, that this was not yours to play. Much love.”
Gauri Sawant has been previously featured in an ad for Vicks as a transgender mother who raised an orphaned girl to break the stereotypical representation of trans persons.
She raised money to build houses for sex workers near Kharghar with the amount she won with the help of Kaun Banega Crorepati in season 9.