Ayushmann Khurrana’s latest film, Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui, has sparked a conversation about the transgender community’s representation in Bollywood. While some have praised director Abhishek Kapoor’s film for the sensitive, nuanced way in which it presents the queer community, others decry its commercial sheen and the fact that the transgender character is played by a cisgender woman, actor Vaani Kapoor.
Ayushmann, who has made a career of doing films about taboo subjects and marginalised communities, opened up about the debate in an interview with Film Companion’s Anupama Chopra.
He said that he became aware of the trans community when he was 13. He recalled an incident when a girl who identified as male was referred to a gynaecologist by his father. But the doctor shunned the girl, and suggested that she seek psychological help instead. The girl eventually went to Mumbai, underwent sex reassignment surgery, and is now living a happily married life.