Recommended movies about hijra, the third gender of India – Mahesh Bhatt’s 1997 film Tamanna (meaning ‘Desire’) have made an indelible impression.
The sensitive, well-crafted Tamanna is said to be based on the life of a real life hijra called Tiku who lived in the Mahim area of Mumbai up to 1997, at least. The story line of the movie is as follows:
The progeny of a yesteryear Bollywood actress, Tiku makes a living as a hair-style and make-up artist of film stars in the Hindi Movie Industry. Tiku isn’t a part of any jamat and lives like a man in mainstream society. Though he isn’t on bad terms with the other hijras, Tiku is keen on living life as an independent entity.
Tiku gets a chance to channelize the nurturing qualities and feminine maternal instinct in him when he comes across a baby girl abandoned in a public garbage bin. The child, Tamanna, gives the lonely hijra a concrete reason for living. Tiku brings the child up with care, showering on her all reserves of love he has in his gentle self. One’s hearts bleeds for Tiku when upon stumbling upon the truth of his gender identity (she sees him dressed as a hijra), a grown-up Tamanna reacts negatively. The fact that Tiku is a hijra comes as a shock to Tamanna who has hitherto believed that Tiku is her biological father. She rebuffs and avoids him for a few days before realizing that Tiku’s gender identity has little to do with the loving, caring and sensitive person he is. An enlightened Tamanna is now filled with gratitude for Tiku and reconciles with him after a well-deserved apology.