Dressed in an off-shoulder blue evening gown, Anjali Amir looks quite like a starlet. And a starlet she is.
She is playing Mammootty’s heroine in a Tamil film, Peranbu, which is in the post-production stage. For Anjali, acting in films has been a dream from a very young age.
But to make that dream come true, she first needed to make another dream come true: to become a woman.
She was born a boy. But a couple of years ago, she underwent a sex reassignment surgery and became a woman. She is delighted that she has become one of the few transsexual women in India to star in a feature film — that too in a lead role. “There is another actress in the film, but mine is the main role,” she told The Hindu here on Thursday. “I am indebted to Mammootty for this break; he was the one who recommended me to director Ram.”
Mammootty came to know of Anjali from a television news report. “I was going through a rough time then,” she recalls. “I had been dropped from a television serial shortly before it went on air because I am a transsexual. Now I feel it was good that I did not do that serial; if I did, I would not have got this opportunity to act in a film, that too opposite Mammootty.”
She has always been his fan, even when she was a boy. “I had watched him shoot for Vesham while I visited my cousins in Kozhikode during my school days,” she reminisces. “I could only watch him from a distance.”
She was about 10 then. “And that was the time when I had begun to realise that I was different from other boys,” she says. “My friends were mostly girls, along with whom I participated in dance competitions at school, in Thiruvathirakali, Oppana and group dance, dressed as a girl.”
A few years later, Anjali decided that she wanted to be a woman. “That shocked my relatives; I come from a conservative Muslim family,” she says. “So I left home. I am based in Coimbatore these days. Now, most of my relatives have begun to accept me.”
Anjali is focussed on her acting career. “Peranbu is also being made in Malayalam,” she says. “I cannot say much about my role except that I play a Malayali girl called Meera. I am also doing another film in Tamil and one in Telugu. I also continue to do modelling.”
Life appears to be finally looking good for this pretty woman.