‘Manav’ (The Human), 1990 (Film)
‘Manav’ is about the transgender community in India.
We meet Asha - a transgender in Baroda, Gujarat. Kalpana - her ‘chela’ and Asha’s Guru. They live in a community on a piece of land gifted by the erstwhile Maharaja of Baroda.
Asha and Kalpana state that they were born “this way”… neither man nor woman.
In the teeming city of Mumbai, we meet Lali. Traumatized by a sexually abused childhood, he found a sense of belonging among the transgenders in the red light district.
The film while touching on the psycho-social aspect of their lives, also explores the myths and legends that surround the community from ancient times in India.
While offering them a cultural and historical identity these myths like the one surrounding the ‘Bahucharaji’ temple in Gujarat, assures them of a clear gender identity… in some lifetime or other.
‘Manav’ means human being in Hindi. The film tries to view them as human beings free from any gender bias in communion with nature, the world and ultimately themselves.