It’s powerful how Anjali owns her sexuality


With Jacqueline and transgender model Lama in his short film Tell It Like a Woman, director Yadav hopes to change the representation of women in cinema

Director Leena Yadav accompanied by Anjali Lama and Jacqueline Fernandez

It was an easy yes for Leena Yadav when she was approached by producer Carol Polakoff in 2020 to be part of Tell It Like a Woman. The anthology, backed by non-profit film production company We Do It Together, attempts to overturn the way women have been portrayed in film. From Eva Longoria to Taraji P Henson, from Cara Delevingne to Anne Watanabe, stars from around the world have joined forces to highlight seven short films directed by female directors.

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Cara Delevingne and Eva Longoria also star in the anthologyCara Delevingne and Eva Longoria also star in the anthology

Yadav’s short, titled Sharing a Ride and shot in Mumbai, features Jacqueline Fernandez and Nepal’s first transgender model, Anjali Lama. “My segment sees Jacqueline as a cosmetologist obsessed with beauty and perfection. When she shares a rickshaw on a rainy day with a traffic cop, played by Anjali, she is initially rebuffed by the transgender. But ultimately, transgender heals cisgender,” the director explains. Bringing in the right actors was crucial for such a sensitive story. “I was clear that I wanted to cast a transgender. There is something honest and powerful about Anjali and the way she has appropriated her sexuality. Jacqueline met me within 48 hours of my approach. It’s amazing how she gave herself up as an actress.

Yadav, who helmed the female-directed Parched (2015) in the past, says the anthology is another step in the fight for gender equality. “By using cinema and breaking the stereotypes of women, [we] aim to create change in people. Movies change the narrative where women are the subject rather than [being objectified]. It’s inclusive of all genders.

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