Gender and self

Rituparno Ghosh’s ‘Chitrangada’ sketches the emotional and psychological conflicts of a transgender who opts to change sex

Published: 10th December 2012 12:36 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th December 2012 12:36 PM   |  A+A-


Two men can neither beget a child, nor adopt. Then what does a gay couple do when caught by the intense desire to have a child? Rudra Chatterjee (Rituparno Ghosh), a choreographer in a drama-troupe and one of the twosome, takes the tougher decision to undergo a gender transition - to be a woman - so as to make their wish come true.

‘Chitrangada - The Crowning Wish’ by Rituparno Ghosh sketches the emotional and psychological conflicts that grips Rudra, who decides to become a woman. The film also has a subplot based on Tagore’s character Chitrangada, who is born as a girl and brought up like a boy by her father, the King of Manipur as a fulfillment of his wish to have a male heir. Later, when obsessed by the love for Arjuna, Chitrangada longs to be like a woman and her dilemma too is knit well into the plot of the movie.

The director has succeeded in sketching gender dilemma in a hard-hitting way in the film. Rather than the decision of the individual, several factors contribute to it. Family, of course is at the forefront in expressing disapproval. Though they cannot come to terms with their only son’s decision at first, they do not reject him. Yet, the thing that made him dare to do the act, his partner and his attitude matter. The pain and suffering he has undergone is nullified by the partner who calls him a ‘synthetic’ one. It draws attention to similar news items which have hit the headlines many times before, the dejection and humiliation suffered by the person from their partner after changing sex.

The film calls for thinking and revisiting decisions for people caught in identity conflicts borne out by their gender.

Rudra has not completely transformed into the opposite gender; a few more surgeries are left to be done on his body to completely convert him into a woman. Amid conflicting thoughts, his conscience wants him to be a ‘vivacious, energetic, eccentric and creative dancer’, be it in manhood or womanhood. Even while writhing in pain, his attempts to dance highlights this. Finally, when Rudra decides to have a new ‘life’, it becomes the celebration of the one’s being than the victory of gender.

Stay up to date on all the latest Thiruvananthapuram news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp