Canadian feature-film, ROOBHA highlights the difficulties faced not only of being transgender, but of being transgender within a conservative culture. Living in a Tamil community, ROOBHA (Amrit Sandhu) is a transgendered woman who is shunned and rejected by her family and who has to fight for her way of life.
Things begin to improve for Roobha when she meets Anthony, (Jesuthasan Antonythasan) who also created the film’s original story. The film unfolds as they fall in love and are subsequently torn apart by forces outside of their control.
The mythology behind the narrative is described from the beginning, how the Goddess of transgendered people came to be, as well as the history of the trans community in Tamil. The mythology heavily influences the film, with the Goddess making frequent appearences as she unnervingly observes Roobha, watching as her life crumbles.
ROOBHA picks apart and highlights the views of individuals and communities towards LGBTQ+ issues and rights, and was created by director Lenin M. Sivam to combat this very struggle. He, himself talked about the “shame” he felt at the lack of knowledge surrounding the trans community, and how he wanted to educate not only himself, but others like him. He quit his job to complete the film, which took around four years to finish.
Anthony represents a typical Tamil man, who ignores the surrounding prejudice and falls in love with Roobha. Much of the film is told from the perspective of Anthony, as well as Roobha’s family, expressing how the prejudice and discrimination manifests itself within the Tamil culture; allowing audiences to see the situation from all sides and how the different characters react.
This is the European premiere for ROOBHA, a truly beautiful film about a person brave enough to defy those who are ignorant. Films and stories such as ROOBHA are vital in helping to start conversations surrounding prejudice and to assist in changing views and opinions about the LGBTQ+ community; not only within the Tamil culture but within cultures worldwide as well as our own.
ROOBHA will be shown again on October 31st at 6pm at The Cambridge Arts Picturehouse