– By Kritika Malik.
Cross-dressing in India has been prevalent in India from the days of Mahabharata with Arjuna cross-dressing as Brihannala, a dance teacher to form a disguise during his exile.
During the beginning of entertainment industry in India men had to play women’s roles because of the social stigma and the restriction of women in the entertainment space. Things changed, gradually and women got their due space.
Cross-dressing came into the entertainment sphere in India, again, as comic relief on the Silver screen. I mean, who doesn’t remember Kamal Hassan’s portrayal of Laxmi Godbole in Chachi 420, but who knew this trend was here to stay for so long.
India entertainment industry has been obsessed with cross dressing ever since then. There has been an endless number movies where men crossdress as women for only and only comic relief but most movies where females crossdress as males (which is comparatively far lesser than the other) it is only for gender disguise to let women into the men’s world, doing “unconventional” things- like playing a sport(!!!) as seen in Dil Bole Hidappa where Rani Mukherji dresses as a Sikh boy to get into the cricket team.
But cross-dressing is not restricted to the silver screen only, the idiot box has it way worse. Every hindi comedy talk show or stand up comedy show has one crossdressed character at the very least. These crossdressed females are not gender disguising, they play the same role always (which could have very been played by a female actress to begin with).
As a cherry on the top, the kind of women they play are generally not, conventional bharatiya naari but rather they are non-sanskari like the horny drunkard of a Dadi potrayed by Ali Asgar in The Kapil Sharma Show, this Dadi tries to kiss every male celebrity who comes on the famous talk show.
If that wasn’t all, we have Gaurav Gera’s Chhutki – a modern girl who lives without her family and flirts with everyone from her neighbor to the “pados ki dukaan wala” and uses a lot of sexual innuendos. This character took the county by a storm and was all over the social networking scene in India.
Not only are there a lot of examples of cross-dressing in the Indian Entertainment industry but these characters and their gigs are very well received. People love these characters but everyone fails to see the vastness of this act of cross-dressing.
Cross dressing for comic relief is everything but offending to the people of a country that is offended by everything but if a person crossdresses in India for any other reason but entertainment, everyone loses their mind.
People love these characters but everyone fails to see the vastness of this act of cross-dressing. Cross-dressing has a long history and a lot more purpose than just inappropriate humor.
It’s high time for the Indian TV industry to move on from this annoying trend and let an actress play an open minded, different, non- sanskari role for once.
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