A Place Of Our Own is a new feature film about the trials and tribulations of a couple of transgender women In Bhopal, India, and is a tragic reminder of how life for them has not progressed at all in society. The film, made by the Ektara Collective, an independent collaborative of filmmakers which makes films about and involving marginalized and disenfranchised communities, perfectly captures the lows ….. and the highs ….. of the women’s search for accommodation after their latest landlord has illegally evicted them.
Laila and Roshni’s story (very effectively played by non-professional trans actors Manisha Soni and Muskaan) is based on real-life incidents during the Covid pandemic, which has the pair scrambling to follow the most dubious leads for the shabbiest apartments imaginable.
Laila has a Master’s Decree in Social Services and has a good job as a counselor helping women in need. She is completely ‘out’, and articulate and even gives talks about being trans to a women’s Group. Roshini meanwhile is the cook/servant to a wealthy Indian family and needs to present as a man for fear of losing her job.
They never seem far away from the threat of physical abuse or violence whenever they are out in public, and it’s kind of inevitable that their bravado in resisting all this will not work all the time. Seeing it portrayed on the screen may not be shocking to us now, but it is nevertheless appalling as we are constantly reminded that it never eases up at all for these women or others like them in the same position. The only time the positions are reversed is when they have a video of Roshni being beaten up, and suddenly the family that attacked are now panicking about possible police charges
Tying this issue to these two exceptional likable women is extremely effective as after all A Place of Our Own is a serious indictment of society’s attitudes, and how it is long past time that there should be real change. It may be set in India but sadly similar stories are still playing out throughout the world.
PS A Place Of Our Own is being screened at QUEERSCREEN Mardi Gras Film Festival and BFI Flare, London
Review : Roger Walker-Dack
Editor in Chief : Queerguru Member of G.A.L.E.C.A. (Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association) and NLGJA The Association of LGBT Journalists. and The Online Film Critics Society. Ex Contributung Editor The Gay Uk &Contributor Edge Media Former CEO and Menswear Designer of Roger Dack Ltd in the UK one of the hardest-working journalists in the business' Michael Goff of Towleroad