Taali – an inspiring tale on the fight for transgender rights

Hi guys, welcome to another review! I binge watched the much-awaited series starring Sushmita Sen – Taali. This serial is currently streaming on Jio Cinema and is based on the life of transgender activist Shreegauri Sawant. Gauri Sawant was born as Ganesh and raised in Pune. Her father is a police officer, and her mother is a homemaker. Gauri also has an elder sister.

This drama series is only six episodes long and beautifully summarizes the struggles that Gauri had to go through, being a transgender. She lost her mother (her biggest supporter and cheerleader) at a very young age. Since then, the emotional distance between her dad and Gauri only grew further. When Gauri was in college, her elder sister got married and she moved into her in-law’s place. Gauri was left alone, and she found solace in the community of transgenders living in Pune.

As a child and a teenager, Gauri (then Ganesh) always enjoyed things that are usually enjoyed by women, like putting on makeup, applying lipstick, dancing, etc. This always enraged her father and out of frustration he took Gauri to a sex clinic. The doctor at the clinic gave Gauri some pills which will induce the release of the testosterone hormone. Gauri started taking these pills but soon stopped, hiding them under the bed since it was causing extreme stomach pain. When her father found out about this, he was furious and gave her an ultimatum to either behave like a boy or else neither of them would be able to live with each other. Gauri decided to leave home and head for Mumbai.

She found a group of eunuchs begging at the traffic signals of Mumbai, who dressed her up in a frock and told her to beg like them. But Gauri soon became tired of this. She did not want to beg to make a living. Gauri started working as a waiter at a restaurant to sustain herself and started working for the ‘RAHI’ foundation to promote the interests of the LGBTQIA+ community. However, the transgender community did not accept Gauri since she was biologically still a man. This led her to make the decision of undergoing a sex-change operation. The operation was successful, and this is when she changes her name from Ganesh to Gauri. The transgender community of Mumbai welcomes her with open arms and helps her recover from the surgery.

She continued her charitable work and founded the Sakhi Char Chowghi Trust. This NGO promotes safe sex and provides counselling to transgender people. Gauri along with her friends also helped take care of infants who were abandoned by their parents in different parts of the city. She encouraged the transgender community to educate themselves and take up dignified jobs and not beg at signals. Gauri is also responsible for the landmark judgement given by the Supreme Court which recognizes transgenders as the ‘third gender’. This was only possible through her petition. She continues to inspire many transgenders and even men and women all over the country.

‘Taali’ is a clever euphemism for transgenders who are usually seen clapping in a distinct way and asking for money in exchange for their blessings. Sushmita Sen’s performance is mind blowing and she has done complete justice to her role. In my opinion, this series influences everyone to believe in themselves and to not be afraid to stand by their beliefs.

I would give this mini-series 4 out of 5 Taalis.