Actress Adah Sharma portrays a trans-woman in the recently-released web series Pati Patni Aur Panga, and she says that she wants to be part of stories that resonate with people beyond gender specifics and depict an inclusive society.
"When I decided to play Shivani Bhatnagar in 'Pati Patni Aur Panga', the triggering point of the story was not that I will get a chance to play a 'trans-woman'. My point was to represent one who is unique in thought and finds it hard to fit in. I think that anyone who is different in choice, appearance or in any other way, faces criticism and a hard time when it comes to acceptance and validation. At times, we do not understand the other person's perspective and I think that is alright as long as we are not judgemental," Adah told IANS.
The actress has been working in Bollywood as well as in the South, and she says her choices of roles have also been judged by people.
She made her debut in 2008, with the Bollywood horror film 1920. "I was told that making my first screen appearance with a character of a possessed woman with black teeth would stereotype me. When in 'Commando 2' I played a girl who speaks English with a Hyderabadi accent, again I was told that unless I get my 'diva act' right and build my on-screen image, I would not get enough work in Bollywood. Isn't it a little weird? We all want to be unique and want to stand out in the crowd with our signature. But when we work towards that, we are told, we do not 'fit in'. So I think I would rather focus on stories that resonate beyond gender and that include every community of our society," she claimed.
In the web series Pati Patni Aur Panga, she plays a trans-woman who was biologically born a man but opted for a sex change operation. She becomes Shivani from Shiva, and the story follows what happens next.
About the extra care she took while playing a character that represents the LGBTQ+ community, she claimed: "I did not treat the character as 'different', and that is the whole idea -- of treating them as equal. I received messages from a viewer who, at the end of the message mentioned she is a 'trans-woman'. I guess I have done justice to the opportunity."
Pati Patni Aur Panga is directed by Abir Sengupta, and the show also features Naveen Kasturia, Gurpreet Saini, Hiten Tejwani, and Alka Amin in pivotal roles. It streams on MX Player.
Images: Adah Sharma on Instagram