Benjamin Damari, India's first gay actor to win National Film Award, received approval
No other place in Mumbai or the "mainland" is as tolerant or sensible to the LGBTQ community as the North-East of India, the country's first gay actor to win a National Film Award.
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Benjamin Demery was awarded a jury special mention at the 67th National Film Awards on 22 March for his portrayal of transgender Jahanu in Prakash Dev's Assamese film. Jonaki Poruva (Firefly).
And the new label, "You have created history" from people in the entertainment industry, is a time for youth to drown.
"I hope the award changes the way we look at the LGBTQ (anti-gay bisexual transsexual queer) community in the country." Hindu.
"But saying that, I prefer to live somewhere in the Northeast than in Mumbai or Chandigarh or Delhi, or they call any place mainstream. At home, or in Assam people make fun of you, but not in a way that breaks your heart or makes you feel strong, ”Mr. Damery said.
The twenty-year-old actor is from Guwahati, about 60 km from Guwahati. He considers himself lucky to have been born into a family that accepted his sexual orientation and supported his passion for theater.
“I have been in amateur theater since 2014. Whereas, I came to know that I have a pencant for makeup and fashion designing. As a makeup artist and designer, I often have to move out of Assam.
Hard sex rules
An absent-minded parent means that the writer-director Jonaki Poruva, Prakash Deka, has virtually lived a double life.
He likes to use the name that his family gave him – Prakash – but he has to write his official name – Pranjal – in parentheses.
"This is because my absent minded father registered my name [in school] Pranjal instead of light! All my certificates read Pranjal, "he says, speaking from Mumbai where he has been based since 2010.
Mr. Deka started as a theater actor in Mumbai under Ashok Purang but turned to writing and training actors. He wrote scripts in Assamese and Hindi for other directors before researching and deciding Jonaki PoruvaFirst Assamese film on LGBTQ community.
"Hindi is very gender-specific, so I got the final draft right for the wrong gender. In a way, handling Hindi helped to increase my sensitivity to gender issues, especially regarding the LGBTQ community," Mr. Deka recalls.
His research took him to various places in Assam where he met transgenders, some of whom have acted in his films. The research also took him to Mr. Damery, whom he trained for 15 days.
"He performed brilliantly in his first film," Mr. Deka says.
The film was shot in 2018, released in late 2019 and screened at international film festivals.
Mr. Deka has also written the screenplay of an Assamese film on political immigration. The film is yet to be released.