Fans are polarised over Vijay Raaz’s portrayal of a trans lady in Gangubai Kathiawadi

Fans responded favourably to Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Gangubai Kathiawadi’s initial trailer, which was unveiled on Friday.

Alia Bhatt and her co-star, Vijay Raaz, received a standing ovation for their performances as fierce brothel madams. In the film, Vijay plays Gangubai’s adversary, Razia Bai. In a couple of sequences from the film, Razia tries to scare Gangu by urging her to stay away from Kamathipura. Since the teaser was released, audiences have been gushing about Vijay’s portrayal.

One wrote, “His entry really gives me goosebumps.”

“Everyone’s acting is brilliant, but Vijay Raj’s just stands out to me. I mean, the way he portrays the character is just brilliant,” wrote another.

Let’s take a moment to appreciate Vijay Raj. What an actor. Every role he did, he just nailed it. One of the finest actors, he has yet to get the name that he deserves. And every single actor in this movie has done a tremendous job.” wrote another fan.

However, not everyone agrees with a cis-gender person assuming a trans person’s role once again.

Can Bollywood please stop casting cis and straight people as transsexual characters, please? It’s 2022 already and I am pretty sure that there is enough talent in this country where an actual transsexual can portray a transsexual character,” a person wrote in a tweet.

The discussion spread to Reddit, where fans argued over whether Vijay was the best pick.

If it was any other actor apart from Vijay Raaz, for example, Varun or Ranveer, people would’ve taken down the internet claiming to have cast a trans-person. But, since he’s an accomplished and well-liked actor, everyone is defending him. I guess who you are casting also makes a difference in these roles, ” read a comment.

Another person countered it by saying, “I don’t think that’s the correct way to look at it. By that logic, Vijay Raaz can play the lead role in this movie better than Alia or most female actors, so why didn’t they cast him? The point here is that this is about the representation of an economically and socially marginalised community.”

It’s about representation and opportunities. Trans people are a minority and are hardly shown in the media. They don’t get a chance to play even the roles written for them, “wrote another.

Vaani Kapoor recently starred in Abhishek Kapoor’s Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui as a transgender woman. During film promotions, both of them had to deal with inquiries concerning their casting choices.

Abhishek contended in an interaction with Indian Express, “We went through many avenues and there was a thought about casting a trans person, but you know, I find everyone is so fascinated just by actors. Why is it that everything is legitimised by an actor? Why can’t a trans person write the film? Why can’t a trans person direct the film? First of all, this fascination is incorrect. Films are not made by actors; they are made by filmmakers and writers. Eventually, there is a representation by an individual actor, but I try to see above this because there is a storey to be told. You have to reach out to the general population by taking the storey to them, and I thought this was the best way to take this storey there. When you talk to someone, you have to talk to them in their language.”