How Bengaluru’s Transwomen Are Reclaiming the Metropolis, One Click on at a Time


A brief documentary ‘Kathegala Kanive’ (Valley of Tales) directed by Vikas Badiger is making its worldwide premiere on the Indian Movie Pageant of Melbourne this month.

‘Kathegala Kanive’ (Valley of Tales), a brief documentary directed by Vikas Badiger, is making its worldwide premiere on the Indian Movie Pageant of Melbourne this month.

When mural artist Shanti Muniswamy was handed a digital digital camera, she actually wished to {photograph} a bougainvillea, resplendent within the dawn. For a 90s child like him, Phool retained the allure, innocence and nostalgia of Bengaluru.

“I reside in Marathahalli and go for a stroll each morning on the bridge, which boasts of a stunning bougainvillea plant. However proper behind it, you possibly can see a skyscraper which is just lately added and chronologically within the 90s. So, I wakened at 5 a.m. and waited for the suitable lighting to do the photograph shoot, which had a tight-lipped concentrate on flowers and the skyscraper within the background,” Shanti says.

Many such images taken by Shanti and different transgender artists of Arvani Artwork Mission discover a place within the journey Kathegala Kanive (Valley of Tales), a documentary directed by Vikas Badigar. The 30-minute movie is making its worldwide premiere on the Indian Movie Pageant of Melbourne this month. Earlier, it gained the Greatest Documentary Award on the Madras Unbiased Movie Pageant.

a collaborative challenge

The Aravani Artwork Mission, a transwoman and cis-female-led arts collective, was based by Purnima Sukumar to handle the discrimination confronted by the LGBTQIA+ group and create safer areas for them via artwork. As a part of her ongoing effort to reclaim public areas, Arvani collaborated with Kanike Studio on a images challenge, which was funded by a grant from the India Basis for the Arts.

Vikas Badigar, director of quick documentary, Kathegala Kaniveand the founding father of the Instagram group, Faces of Bangalore.

It is the method wherein Vikas paperwork with measured restraint, by no means letting his digital camera fall into ladies’s palms—a really aware determination, he says.

“I wished to be as genuine as attainable, with out taking away from the story they wished to inform. So earlier than I turned on the digital camera, I might ask what angle they preferred or what they wished earlier than taking pictures. need to share,” he says.

Nonetheless, this was not the primary time that ladies had been interacting with Vikas. They knew him from an earlier photograph sequence that he did on them for Faces of Bengaluru, Vikas’s Instagram web page that profiles the individuals of the town.

“There’s little or no non-fiction content material in Kannada, and particularly about Bengaluru. When Poornima referred to as me to doc it, I assumed ‘why not carry the 2 collectively?’ Additionally, I had not labored with photographers from the trans group, so a number of components aligned,” says Vikas.

connection no matter metropolis

The theme of the challenge was to discover the connection of trans group with Bengaluru. Nonetheless, the documentary doesn’t romanticize Bengaluru via the lens of Arvani’s transwoman. Conversely, it solely makes viewers extra conscious about the town’s capability to “different” its marginalized inhabitants.

As ladies be taught the nuances of dealing with a digital digital camera, a gadget that was as soon as international to them as a metropolis, we see them rediscover the features of Bengaluru which have positioned them right here. What we get are the tales of affection, surprising friendships, nostalgia, acceptance, need and resilience that these transwomen have solid. In-spite of this metropolis.

one look reversed

Shweta, a transgender artist and member of the Arvani Art Project, in a still from the documentary, Kathegala Kanive.

Shweta, a transgender artist and member of Arvani artwork challenge, in a scene from the documentary, Kathegala Kanive, , photograph credit score: Vikas Badigere

The target of the challenge was to offer employable expertise to transwomen who haven’t any formal schooling. Nonetheless, it additionally achieved one thing extra outstanding – it reversed the gaze.

“Often, individuals take our photos, ask our life historical past and stroll away. When the digital camera got here into our palms, it not solely gave us immense energy to alter the lens, to alter others, but additionally gave us the chance to manage our personal narratives,” says Shanti.

She additionally noticed how reclaiming public areas via artwork—the place they’re most weak, for worry of assault and humiliation—modified individuals’s views. Individuals obtained curious as quickly as they noticed the digital camera. Whether or not I used to be clicking a paper supply boy or a flower vendor, their first query was whether or not I’m from the media,” she provides.

Concentrate on non-fiction content material

Throughout the shoot, Vikas noticed how a lot confidence the digital camera has instilled in ladies. he hopes Kathegala Kanive Will spark a dialog. “I need to normalize respectful, cordial and pleasant habits with them. It’s not sufficient to have only one delight month with out working for all of it yr. These ladies are handled with respect within the areas the place they reside. However I’ve but to see public areas which might be actually inclusive and welcome all transgender individuals.”

As a filmmaker, Vikas desires individuals to have interaction with extra non-fiction content material and factors to his latest work The Spirit Circle, A documentary on Final Frisbee – the world’s solely blended gender sport – at the moment streaming on Apple TV.

“There’s an acute scarcity of high quality non-fiction content material from India. I urge individuals to actively contain themselves in watching non-fiction work centered round South India, particularly Bangalore.



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