Anjali Ameer is a happy woman. Yes, she makes it clear that she doesn’t need any labels as a prefix or suffix with her name. She always aspired to be a woman, took the pain to achieve it, and is proud of her transformation to womanhood. “I feel complete now. The change has made me more confident than before,” says Anjali. A successful model and actor, what makes Anjali happier is the opportunity to share screen space with actor Mammootty in his Tamil flick Peranbu, written and directed by Ram. It is Anjali’s debut movie. Anjali’s joy knew no bounds when the offer came. “It was Mammukka who suggested my name,” she says.
“I had been doing some TV shows during that time. Mostly comedy shows. At the same time, I had been offered a title role in a serial broadcast in a prominent Malayalam channel. It was after two days of shoot that they came to know about my identity. Although I had mentioned my identity to the production controller, who is my friend, the director was not informed about this. When they realised that I am a transsexual, they started avoiding me. That time, I had talked about this in an interview given to a news channel. Mammukka suggested my name after watching this,” explains Anjali, a native of Kozhikode, who was surprised at the offer.
The shooting of Peranbu is over. Anjali had a great time with the team. “The shooting was in Chennai. Like every one, I was also excited to work with Mammukka. Although I had seen him while he was shooting for the movie Vesham in Kozhikode, I never had a close interaction with him. Hence, I was a tad nervous too. But, he was cool on the sets and mingled casually; that relieved me,” she smiles and says that she was very comfortable on the set.
“Mammukka was always there to help me with suggestions. Besides, working with Ram sir was a great experience. He is such a talented person. You could understand his ability from his movies. He took only a few films but all of them are good. I don’t know if I would ever be working with such a talent again,” says Anjali. She has also signed a Telugu project but cannot divulge more about her character. Although she has entered movies, Anjali has no plans to quit modelling. “As a kid, I used to take part in competitions such as mono act. I wished to be an actress and leave a mark in the industry. Modelling made me what I am. It was my stepping stone into acting. And I will continue modelling as long as I can,” she says.
And, more opportunities came her way after her transformation. She underwent the surgery at the age of 20. “I wanted to equalise my mind and body. I didn’t want to live in a masculine body with a feminine mind. Everything has to attain completeness, right,” she asks. But undergoing sex reassignment surgery was not easy. “It was risky and painful, but I wanted to do it. I wanted to be a woman,” says Anjali. “Life after transformation was good. I became more confident and began participating in various competitions like Miss Kovai contest. Gradually, I ventured into modelling. The mental power I attained after becoming a woman takes me forward.”
What makes her unhappy is that many are still reluctant to accept her as a woman. “There is a lack of proper awareness. People still don’t know the difference between a transgender and transsexual. People from film field have asked me why I revealed my identity. If I hadn’t done that, I could have done diverse roles without any discrimination. But, I didn’t want to act before anyone. I want to be what I am. I am proud to be a transwoman,” she says.