Shabnam Mousi

2005 | Biography/History / Body Image / Censorship / Dance / Gender / Human Rights / Music / Race and Culture / Relationships / Representation / Transgender | 150m | India
Directors: Yogesh Bhardwaj

Based on a real person, Shabnam Mousi is an action-packed Bollywood musical about a hijra (eunuch) who transcends societal oppression to become a successful politician. The story begins with Shabnam's birth and her parents’decision to ask other hijras to take care of the child. Shabnam then grows up under the influence and cultures of these hijras who are her daily companions, friends, and parents. She becomes a dancer, then runs away and, through grit and determination (and lots of great song and dance numbers and action sequences), fights against social prejudices, eventually rising to political power. Starring Vijay Raaz ( Monsoon Wedding ).

In the culture of the Indian subcontinent a hijra is a physically male or intersex person who is considered a member of “the third sex.” They trace their historical roots to Hinduism where they mirrored androgynous deities, as well as to the royal courts of Islamic rulers. Many modern Hijras, faced with health concerns and discrimination, have become politically active. For example, they have formed HIV/AIDS awareness groups to combat health problems within their communities. Other hijras have been elected to high political positions. This raucous Bollywood film takes real-world inspiration and emerges as an informative and fun ride for all.