"Everyone is defending him."
The first trailer for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Gangubai Kathiawadi was released on February 4, 2022, to a great reaction from fans.
Alia Bhatt raked in applause for her performance as the feisty leader of a brothel as did her co-star Vijay Raaz.
Vijay Raaz plays Gangubai‘s rival Razia Bai in the film.
A few scenes from the trailer show Razia trying to intimidate Gangu, telling her to back off from Kamathipura.
Fans have been raving about the actor’s performance since the trailer was shared.
One fan wrote: “After watching this trailer one thing has been proved that Vijay Raaz is one of the best actors in our times.”
Another added: “Everyone’s acting is brilliant but Vijay Raj just stands out for me.”
A third commented: “Let’s take a moment to appreciate Vijay Raj.”
However, others were far from impressed with the decision to cast a cisgender actor in the role of a trans person.
One Twitter user wrote: “Can Bollywood stop casting cis/straight people as transsexual characters, please?
“It’s 2022 already and I am pretty sure that there is enough talent in this country where an actual transsexual can portray a transsexual character.”
Others claimed that Vijay’s likeability has saved him from further backlash:
“If it was any other actor apart from Vijay Raaz e.g. Varun or Ranveer, people would’ve taken down the internet claiming to cast a trans person.
“But, since it’s an accomplished, well-liked actor, everyone is defending him.
“I guess who you are casting also makes a difference in these roles.”
Another person countered it by saying: “I don’t think that’s the correct way to look at it.
“By that logic, Vijay Raaz can play the lead role in this movie better than Alia or most female actors so why didn’t they cast him?
“The point here is about the representation of an economically and socially marginalised community.”
Recently, Vaani Kapoor played a trans woman in Abhishek Kapoor’s Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui.
Both Vaani and Abhishek had to answer questions about the casting choice during the film’s promotional events.
Abhishek Kapoor argued:
“We went through many avenues and there was a thought about casting a trans person but you know I find everyone is so fascinated just by actors.
“First of all, this fascination is incorrect.”
“Films are not made by actors, they are made by filmmakers and writers.
“Eventually, there is a representation by an individual actor but I try to see above this because there is a story to be told.
“You have to reach out to people at large by taking the story to them and I thought this is the best way to take this story there.
“When you talk to someone, you have to talk to them in their language.”