The so-called commercial films have seldom treated people with alternate sexualities and gender queerness with dis-respect. They have always been ridiculed and made a mockery in many of our films.
Under such hostile circumstances, it is actually refreshing to watch a film which has a transsexual playing herself. Narthagi is what one could call ‘hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth’.
Narthaki, a film about transsexuals, is a very touching account of what goes in the life of a transsexual. This is a story of a young boy who realizes that he is more of a woman trapped in a man’s body. Within such broad contours of such a story, its director, Vijayapadma, has tried to show various sides to this story related to gender queerness of transsexuals.
It’s a film which tries to show the difference between gender and sex, which, for most of us, is not different.
Born into a family where pride and valour is placed before everything else, and to a father (Karate Venkatesh) who is a traditional martial arts expert and already has a set of preconceived ideas on masculinity, Subbu, very early on in his life begins to show feminine traits.
What really makes him a woman, we are not told, but he realizes that, as he grows up to be a young adult, he is more of a woman. The narration is mostly linear while the way Subbu, a boy who realizes that he is more of a woman, turns into a woman, Kalki, and the various stages of his growing up years is neatly told.
The young Subbu is played by a young boy (Ashwin), while the grown up Subbu is played by a teenage boy. After the initial transformation from a teenage boy to an adult, a young, slightly dark female takes up the role, probably to match the looks of Kalki, who will eventually take over in the final parts of the film.
The various transformations are done tastefully except for the fact that there seems to be disconnect with the look of teenage boy and a grown up transsexual.
Narthaki also scores few social and cultural points when it dwells on why transsexuals are forced to resort to prostitution. One also gets to understand the community as it exists today, if at all we can consider this film as a well-researched take on the way of life of transsexuals.
The difficulties transsexuals undergo when they actually realize who they are; and the general rejection at the hands of their very own family members are beautifully painted on the big screen. Producer of this film, Punnagai Poo Geetha, needs a pat on her back for making such a bold and relevant film.
GV Prakash’s back ground score manages to hold the audience. This film is a useful material for those who want to get started on understanding gender related issues, and also those who want to see a feature film that shows the life of people who are somewhat different from us in few ways.