What is common between Pharrell Williams and a group of transgenders in Mumbai? Well, both of them ask you to be Happy and clap your way to share the happiness. Y -films a segment of the celebrated Yash Raj films has presented India with its latest proud addition- India’s first all transgender Band called- The 6 Pack Band. The video of their first song which is the cover of Pharrell Williams’ global hit Happy(2013) has received more than 1.4 million views on You Tube which is quite a history in its own measure.
The video portrays them all dolled up in bright colored lehnga cholis and singing and dancing in different settings- from chauls, near beaches and in office. The song also highlights vividly the practice of their signature Taali (Clap). The Trans look no less than actresses in bollywood songs with all the makeup, jewellery and hair done.
They have become mini celebrities – professional choreographers, make up artists, producers, dancers and dress designers and creative directors are working with them.All of them projecting their own understanding of Hijras in practice.The dance , drama and clothes all is manifestation of a trans dream in their head. The attempt is subtle and does not play with the identity of Hijras in our society but only puts them in settings where they are not anticipated . The Best part is that they even sing in English.Surely there are many layers to this song.
Also by doing this the curator- Shameer Tandon and his team has also opened up new discussion on question of inclusion in Indian society. It is a double edged sword- in a way that it allows the viewer to make peace with the fact that Hizras are dancing in the office but doesnot allow them to work in the same office as well or dress the same way.It is exclusion in inclusion. The idea of Hizras in viewer’s mind becomes romanticized all thanks to Yash Chopra’s style of larger than life setting. This could be received in different ways: viewers might think it is the jovial life they live, while others might try and question their beliefs about them. In any of the cases at least people are made to think about them.
In India Yash Raj is a renowned and credible label with them coming out to bring light on their status ,it would certainly gauge common so called”main stream” audience. attention.In Bollywood, where the projection of LGBT community has been highly sexualised and problematic, this comes out as a welcoming gesture.
Till now they have posted three videos including Hum Hain Happy and a teaser of their new sing where they are seen sharing space with Sonu Nigam. It would highly recommended and useful to see their progression to trace out media’s role for them.