Vaani Kapoor, who identifies herself as a cis-her woman, has received much acclaim for portraying a transwoman in Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui, in which she stands up and fights for her rights. “I’m an actor who I feel should be like water, moulding into any shape or form. So, for me, it was important that I play this role with utmost purity, sincerity and sensitivity. It’s amazing to hear the community, audiences and even critics’ reactions to my effort. I hope I’ve played a part in starting an important conversation about equality,” Vaani tells us, clearly happy with the validation she’s been receiving.
Await that’s paid off
Vaani talked about what she considered most important when taking on a role. “For me, the quality of the script and the kind of film I’m a part of is more important than the box-office result,” she elaborates. “The love I’m getting for the film is incredibly overwhelming and I’m definitely emotional about it. I’ve taken it slow by choice because I have tried to pick films that help me showcase my talent to the best of my abilities. So, I feel hugely validated today.”
Incidentally, even her director Abhishek Kapoor had recently said, “Credit to Vaani Kapoor as most mainstream heroines won’t take up this role.” To that comment, she tells us, “I’m proud of the film and I know this film is one for the ages. When people refer to all the progressive films that’ve been made in India to foster gender equality, this film will be there in that list and I’m supremely proud of that.”
Vaani tells us she’s always willing to wait for the right film and the right role. “And [I’ll] give my all in bringing the script and my character to life on screen. That’s been my kick since the very beginning and it will continue to be so. I’m always looking out for films that help me shine in them and Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui has done just that.”
Vaani tells us how it was when the film came to her. “I was blown away by the script because it sensitively spoke about the need for inclusivity while telling the story in the most engaging way possible,” she says. “Hats off to the makers for making a film that’s accessible for people and can appeal to every human being, in every part of the country. We have to first pull in people to watch such films so they can ponder over what we’re trying to say and that, I believe, can hopefully aid in changing society at large.”
The Shuddh Desi Romance actress also hopes that Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui enables future films and producers such that they achieve representation of transgender people playing such roles. “I hope that after this film, no his–her actress ever plays the role of a transwoman and we can cast people from the community to play such roles. That was our aim right from the start because to change the mind-set that has been prevalent for so long, you have to engage with people en-masse and tell them about the importance of celebrating individuality and the freedom to choose one’s gender.”
A message for society
While people have called her decision to do the film as a brave one, Vaani feels it was the intent of the film that drove her to take the plunge.
She says, “I didn’t think that I’d be perceived as brave if I did this film. As an actor, I’ve only tried to do good work and be patient to find scripts that enable me to become a reliable, credible actor. Today, I feel validated that I chose a film that has started an important conversation about our society and is telling us to look inwards and dissect the gaze with which we address the issues of the transgender community in our country.”