Free Press Journal

Society doesn’t have a choice, bro: Sacred Games’ ‘Cuckoo’ Kubbra Sait reacts to landmark verdict on transgenders


Kubbra Sait is toasting the landmark judgement that gives transgenders like Cuckoo, pride in their reality, finds NICHOLA PAIS

There is a good bit of Cuckoo in Kubbra Sait. Gorgeous, individualistic, fierce, tender… Perhaps that’s why, well after ‘Sacred Games’ season one was consumed, Cuckoo refuses to leave our system. Kubbra as Cuckoo, raised eyebrows, popped eyeballs and won every heart – not just Gaitonde’s. She also had people scurrying to google guru to discover the exact meaning of transgender! Kubbra Sait, who has experienced a rebirth of sorts with her character in ‘Sacred Games’, is on a high that’s just refusing to die down…

Clearing misconceptions

Not a man who was a woman, but a woman through and through… that’s how Kubbra Sait reveals she played Cuckoo. “I played Cuckoo as a woman because that’s her soul; it didn’t matter what anatomy she had.” However, closer to the release of ‘Sacred Games’, she realised that she hadn’t fully understood the implications of her role. “The first search I did was on the difference between transgender and transexual. I looked up the characteristics or the traits of identifying your sexuality. I wanted to understand if there was any difference between transexual, intersexual, queer… These are the things I was deeply curious about. I would literally google these definitions.

I realised that when the press was asking me questions, they themselves were largely clueless!” She followed up on the life story of transgender comedian Ian Harvie, who used to be a woman previously, and delved deeper into the stirring film, The Danish Girl, which tells the true life tale of Einar Wegener/ Lili Elbe (Eddie Redmayne), one of the first known recipients of sex reassignment surgery. “For me, it was empowering because the sensitivity with which the character was portrayed was amazing. There was no malice in the character, there was real struggle in her finding her identity.

A still from Sacred Games

She really wanted to understand who she was. With Cuckoo her biggest problem was when she realises that she used to feel she was special, she had accepted herself for who she was, but the world knows that she is not who she thinks she is… She always thought she was special. And then the world just brings it down to something as mortal as ‘She can’t give you children, you can’t marry her’.”

Love beyond gender

Today though, post the decriminalisation of gay sex, India could well be on its way to institutionalising gay marriage. Love is now legally beyond gender… “I think love is even beyond your existence!” Kubbra declares passionately. “It is just the physicality that kind of bars it. I can never say ‘I loved you’; love never ends. You cannot love somebody today and un-love somebody tomorrow. As an emotion, it is so expansive and has so many shades…” She is the kind of person who falls in love with everything around her. “I fall in love with the colour of lipstick I’m wearing today, or the food I eat, or the colour of the sky.

I am that person who easily gives myself to that situation. That is love for me. Imagine, if you can be so honest about an emotion, then you cannot put rules and let something come in your way. We are constantly evolving human beings.” She believes love is nothing but a compounded version of care – only when you care about somebody, can you love. “And only then can you accept love in life; something most people find very difficult – forget about giving love. The fact is love has no demands; relationships make demands. Love and relationships are two different things. And relationships are just as complicated as people!” she quips, grinning widely.

A better day

Point out that the changing laws need to be accompanied by an acceptance by society and she retorts, “Acceptance will not come from the outside; the first level of acceptance will come from within. Imagine the fear that they have been living in for all these years. Imagine, they have not been able to say, ‘This is who I am’. Today, mind you, they can. So, today onwards the change will begin. They can now proudly be who they are.” She points out that it’s not about the LGBTQ+ community not receiving their due; but that they can now claim their due. “Now society doesn’t have a choice, bro. So f*** society. The courts have said it and that’s the law of the land now. Today nobody needs your approval. I think that’s like a huge step.” Adding that it’s always a better day ahead, not just for the LGBTQ+ community but for every human being, she vouches, “Your tomorrow can always be better than today.”

Looking forward

Today, Cuckoo has taken her place amongst the memorable LGBTQ+ characters of the screen including Professor Ramchandra Siras (Manoj Bajpayee) of Aligarh, and Tikku (Paresh Rawal) of Tamanna. “When we did the role we did not anticipate this. That’s the beauty of cinema and entertainment – when you make something it’s for perpetuity. If it strikes a chord, it stays. It will come back time and again.” We can see that!

Next for Kubbra is a webseries with AltBalaji, which is “consuming all of my time”. For her, it’s all about the excitement of bagging her first 35-day project as an actor. “For me, these are small milestones and joys of life that I must celebrate. When you’ve always wanted something, craved something and it’s finally here, then appreciation needs to start.”

And then she concludes with some typical Cuckoo sassiness – “I’m playing a beautiful girl… That is also very challenging because now I think I’m transgender!” And she laughs that throaty, delightful laugh. Rock on, Kubbra, we are watching.