Interviews with Transgender and women in prostitution followed by a staged scene of getting into the act of having sex between two prostitutes.
Duration: 00:28:43; Aspect Ratio: 1.333:1; Hue: 2.293; Saturation: 0.151; Lightness: 0.234; Volume: 0.208; Cuts per Minute: 4.560; Words per Minute: 77.110
Summary: Part of raw footage for the film In the Flesh the event depicts four interviews with three transgender (in Hindi, Bengali and Marathi) – Yuvraj, Ravi, Raosaheb and Bhaskar during the DMSC mela in 2001.They are interviewed by Durga, Nuri and another woman all of who are sexworkers by profession and Priyanka who is a sex workers daughter. The interviews bring into light the struggle to be human as a transgendered person goes through and their demand for their right to lead a dignified life.
During the DMSC Mela, (The Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee)* in an informal setting on one of the evenings Durga talks to Yuvraj who is a transgender. The objective behind the interview is to understand the evolution of Yuvraj as a transgendered person and his dilemmas about his sexuality and his conviction have protected sex.
The interview captures the history of Yuvraj and his candid confession about his innate desire for sex with men.
*DMSC is a forum comprising of about 80,000 sex workers who have come together to challenge the exploitation and stigmatization they face for being in that profession which as per the ITPA (Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act) was criminalized, the forum assisted them to fight the barriers of unsafe, unprotected sex that makes them vulnerable to infections. DMSC provided the sex workers and their children the opportunity to mainstream the sex workers movement with the human rights agenda.
Every year they organize the Milan Mela which is a conglomeration of sex workers from all over the world to discuss issues and strategize the growth and success of the existing movement.
Yuvraj (Y): Should I do it this way?
Like this? Moving my hands?
Voice: Ya, any way is ok, even if you want to dance that is fine
Durga (D): what is your name?
Y: My name is Yuvraj
D: Where are you from?
Yuvraj :From Maharashtra
D: I am Durga, I used to work with Sangram, now I work with VAMP, and it is a registered organization that works on HIV/AIDS.
Y: I used to work with Sangram, I had filled up a form as a Sex worker which Meena Seshu, the madam of Sangram really liked and then I joined Sangram, in that organization we have a group that's named as Muskaan
D: Oh Muskaan is a nice name
D: R u a man or a woman?
Y: What do you think? What do you see? Can't you see that I am a woman?
D: Yes that I can see but I am wondering how did you become a girl? Did anyone rape you, or forced sex with you? How was it?
Y: Long back two boys had forced me into the act. I then did know about sex, we had gone out for a stroll, these boys were following us. I used to behave like a girl, I do to know what they thought of and fooled us, asked us to touch them, touch their sex organs, they had their penis erected and they placed it on our hands. Initially I did not feel nice and the boys kept feeling us up, squeezed us. That was the beginning. As I used to behave and feel like a girl, the boys teased me, whistling at me and then I got used to being called a "hijra".
D: So then after all this you started 'doing'it….what does your family
Y: No but I was not raped, I was forced
D: Who all are there in your family?
Y: I have my mother, my sister, my brother, father.
D: Do they know you do all this
Y: They know I am like this but they do not know that I do sex. I hide from them that I am into sex
D: How much do you charge from each customer?
Y: I charge them around Rs. 200-250
D: Do you use condoms?
Y: Ya ofcourse, my organization Muskaan, Sangram they have taught us about HIV/AIDS, how to use a nirodh, how we should save our lives
D: Now that are into sex work,do you want to get married?
Y: No I do not want to get married, I love doing sex, if I find the right man then I will get married.
D: You will get married to a man?
Y: Ya to a man, not to a woman.
D: Do you enjoy doing sex? Do you plan to do it for the rest of your life?
Y: (Smiles and moves his hand) Ya I love doing sex, and I will do it forever. I will always use Nirodh and therefore I will be able to do sex for longer period of time
D: Women in the profession are ill treated, forced into sex, they are in so much pain which we keep hearing all the time, what do you think of that?
Y: Women do go through a lot of trouble but for me, it's the inner desire to have sex, sex with men,I cannot do without having sex, I use condoms, but I cannot leave having sex. I really love having sex.
D: How do people look at you in Sangli?
Y: people do not think of me highly in any case, the policemen, and neighbors' trouble us. They clap at me, call me names, they tease me because of my clothes.
D: Don't you want to retaliate when they trouble you so much?
Y: No one cannot do that, they belong to different groups, so it would get very controversial. Though I do not feel afraid anymore, I have joined an organization that recognizes me, I am gay and I am a sex worker that's what my identity is.
Ambiance Shot of the DMSC tent with
Illuminated cloth posters with graffiti on them. The entrance is made of a blouse and trousers made of bright coloured satin cloth with patterns created on them.
Ravi (R): I am a woman, I love being a woman.
Nuri (N): But it creates a repercussion on you right?
R: Ya, that it does but I love being a woman, I would want to be so, having sex and playing the woman during the act is something that I completely enjoy N: Ya but after marriage also you would have had the pleasure of having sex from a woman like any other man.
R: I want to enjoy sex as a woman and not as a man.
N: You do it whole heartedly? And how much do you earn?
R: I do it from the bottom of my heart, I go for "dhanda"and I earn.
N: do people at your place know? What if they get to know?
R: No they don't, I hide it from them.
N: Do you use the condom?
R: Yes I do, I always carry condoms with me. I am very afraid of HIV-AIDS, so I always take precaution
N: How long are u in this work?
R: There is this organization called Sangram, there with Meena Seshu I have been working there for 3-4 years, what ever I did not know I got to know from there.
N:I also work there I have never seen you there.
R:I come on Monday and Sunday, these are the days we have our meeting
N: So you got to know all about HIV-AIDS
R: Yes I know about it
N: Why do you wear bindi and all of that then?
R: (Smiling) I love wearing bindi, wearing bangles and putting mehendi. So I make others wear it, I also wear it
N: You have a wife?
R;I am the 'biwi'(wife), I am going to get married to a man
N: I work for Meena Seshu for the last nine years, I work with sex workers, provide them with condoms and orient them about safe sex and how they are vulnerable to HIV-AIDS
R: Are you married?
N: No but I have two sons and a family
R: Do you do 'dhanda'
N: Ya I have been doing it for 20-25 years now. I live in Sangli, I am happy there. There is no issue with police or local goons, nobody messes with us there. We have a strong organization.
R: But we are very afraid of the police, there are brawls all the time. They take away our money, so we go to Meena Seshu, she looks after us.
During the DMSC Mela, (The Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee) in an informal setting Nuri talks to Ravi who is a transgender and loves being the woman in his attitude, costume, thought and when he is having sex.
He shares his fear of AIDS and his excitement for his marriage on the cards.
Nuri shares her story of being a sex worker for 20 years and nuisances of the 'dhanda' - the literal meaning is business but the colloquial term for sex work is also dhanda.
Customer(C): Take this 50 bucks, you will have to take off all your clothes
Shabana(S): Are you mad?
C: No you have to take it all off
S: Give me another 50 bucks
C: I will give it to you later, after the act.
S: So you will ejaculate in your trousers and then give me the money, no give me the money first
C: Oh I will give you; you remove all your clothes first.
S: I will after you give me the money, once I have the money, let me take out the Nirodh
C: No, no I cannot use Nirodh, it wouldn't suit me. I am not going to get the pleasure with that.
S : Are you mad, look at the number of Nirodhs in the dustbin
C: But I should be ok with the Nirodh right, it does not suit me
S: Oh once you put the Nirodh, you will get more pleasure
C: No it is not on for me
S: Then I will not give you the money back
C: Ok then give me the money back and I will go
S: What will I give to the 'gharwali' then? My ass!
C: My brother is in the police, I am going to complain about you
S: Did your brother say to come here, go, complain
C: So I am going (in the act to leave the room)
S: Go, go away….ohhh wait wait, listen to me (gets him back by his hand)
C: (While sitting)No I am not going to use Nirodh, do you use Nirodh?
S: Oh listen to me, I am opening all my clothes, (removes the pallu of her sari) so why are you complaining?
C: You ask other customers to put Nirodh, not with me.
S: It doesn't happen like that, look look at this (points to her breasts), its so good, and above this, once you put the Nirodh you will feel great
(She starts necking him)
S: Nirodh is very good; you also have to be concerned about your wife right?
C: I do think of my wife but I will not feel the excitement with Nirodh right.
She removes his shirt
C: I don't want to use Nirodh
S: But you have to, otherwise your wife can get infected with AIDS
Go put your clothes away; the gharwali will now have issues with time
C: So should we put the Nirodh now?
S: (Starts making out) in a while, after the romance
S: (They start making love) Oh wait, lets put the Nirodh and then we will sleep together.
Shabana starts searching for Nirodh, she finds it.
S: See how we have good quality Nirodh….do you know how to put it?
C: (Half lying on the bed) I do not know how to put it, I do not use Nirodh.
S: Ok this is how you open it and then hold it, (giggling) you need to stand up and then I can put it.
Shabana and the customer embracing each other, the camera captures the customer on Shabana involved in the act.
This scene opens with an empty bed placed in a dimly lit room in a mid long shot where Shabana enters the rooms with the customer. This scene was enacted to depict how a sex worker creates her space and convinces the customer to use condoms and have protected sex. It brings out the sex workers serious level of awareness to control spreading of HIV and AIDS. It also throws light on the sex workers obligation to the gharwali (who is like the moneylender, who organizes the deals between customers and sex workers, provides space for the act and charges money from the sex worker for the same.
mid long shot
Bhaskar (B): Don call me Bhaskar dada, (smiling) what ever respect I have that will also go down the drains
Priyanka (P): What's your name?
B: My name is Bhaskar Banerjee
P: When did you come into the 'line'?
B: I came into the line when I was twelve years old
P: How was your age then?
B: Then I was spoilt by someone, he now is my companion. And for feeding myself do 'dhanda'. I pick up customers from all kinds of places-bus stands, railway lines, auto stand, we do not have any fixed places to pick up customers from.
P: When did you get associated with DMSC?
B: I was with DMSC since early times, I got to know about them, knowledge about AIDS, using Nirodh while I am at work, about illness, and our blood tests are done here. I get my customers to get them examined. I also make those customers understand the importance of Nirodh, especially those who do not want to use them. We explain to them that we do not know what infections do we carry, this form of protection will keep our respective families healthy. A lot of customers accept and those who do not accept we shoo them away. We do not take such customers who refuse to use Nirodh. We rate customers, say around Rs.500 or 600
P: Not more than that?
B: Ya there is more than this also, we take a call as per the customer, it's always above Rs.500. We need about 2 and ½ to 3 hours. First we dance, then make them drink, chat with them and then sit for the 'shot'.
P: So to build familiarity a lot of things are done
B: Ya, and today we are here to seek recognition from the society; this is the primary objective of the 'mela' also, called the 'milan mela'. We have gotten people from other countries. We will familiarize ourselves with the work and the development of prostitutes and we will tell them about the work in India.
P: What have you asked from the society?
B: (In a compressed voice) A little louder, have you eaten sabu and milk?
P: (Smiling) What have you asked from the society?
B: We have asked the police problems to get sorted; like I have a room or go to other friends' places for a shot. But there are friends who do not have rooms, the police catches them, snatches all the money earned out of having sex and forcibly has se with them. So we are asking the society like everybody else has their space in Kolkata we also should get that space.
There are the police, who take bribe, the uncouth minister, the 'bodmaish'(scoundrel), 'khocchor'(ass) ruffians, if everybody can exist why we can't stay. We are born here, why do they want to do away with us now? It is the society that has made us the way we are; they should also be responsible for it. We aren't begging. Like everybody leads a dignified life, we also want to lead the same. Not everyone can multitask as much as we can, we can dance, swim, gymnastic, some of us are good with handicrafted stuff, we are working on AIDS, tell me how many men work on AIDS I the society. The society now blames us of having AIDS, do all diseases spread because of 'khankis'(sluths)? I am not going to accept all of this. Aren't there people in 'good' domestic settings who do 'bad' things? What about that? Don't people in domestic settings get infected with diseases? A disease can come from anywhere, from the slum, from the gutter or a 5th floor building. Why is it being said that AIDS is only being spread because of prostitutes. We are checking ourselves at regular intervals. Is the society doing the same? The work that we do for a better society, has the society ever recognized that? (Agitated) They can only say "remove the sluths". So after you remove us where will you keep us? Will the society give us work? Ask the society to give us government jobs, how will the society get us employed, they are beggars themselves.
During the Milan Mela organized by DMSC infront of the platform called 'addakhana'(meaning
Platform for relaxed conversation about anything.) Bhaskar is being interviewed by little Priyanka who is the sex workers daughter.
Bhaskar's makeup looks interesting with blue nailpolish and heavy eye makeup.
The interview brings out Bhaskar's entry into prostitution, his association with DMSC and he talks very strongly against marginalization of sex work and workers and the double standard society has against the issue and the constituency.