‘I May Be Trans But I’m Not Playing Myself’: Made In Heaven 2 Actor Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju

‘I May Be Trans But I’m Not Playing Myself’: Made In Heaven 2 Actor Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju

Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju, gets candid about her acting debut, switching careers, and journey as a transgender

Oshin FernandesUpdated: Saturday, August 26, 2023, 01:49 PM IST
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As the much-awaited web series, Made In Heaven, returned to OTT with its second season, it also brought in new cast members, which included debutante Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju. While she has cast a spell on viewers with her acting prowess, Trinetra is a doctor by profession. She is India’s first transgender content creator, who used social media to share her transition to educate and create awareness around gender issues.

Heavenly Debut

In the web series, Trinetra plays a wedding planner who heads the production at the company Made In Heaven. She auditioned for the role at the start of her internship at a hospital. She was discovered by Karan Malloy and Nandini Shrikant who found her Instagram profile interesting and suggested an audition.

She recalls, “I remember it was in the middle of my gynaecology rotation when I visited Mumbai for the first time. I had no contacts in the industry and no knowledge of what this world entails. When the audition worked out, it was reassurance that I had something unique to offer. I was essentially a sleepless intern at the hospital and had nothing to lose, really. In retrospect, I’m glad Meher and Made in Heaven happened at exactly the right time.”

Art Imitates Life

Trinetra’s role as Meher is one of the most well-written characters in the show. She asserts that director Zoya Akhtar was receptive to the minor feedback here and there, and made the edits for the same.

When asked if any scenes from the show are a depiction of what she has experienced in real life, Trinetra explains, “Violence in the dating space hasn’t been uncommon, and it stems from men not having the vocabulary or the emotional intelligence to process their attraction to trans women. The scenes with Meher’s love interests hit quite close to home and much as they were triggering, I always knew I was in safe hands. Change often trickles down when those with significant say over how stories are told, commit to representing right. That was absolutely the case here. It is important for filmmakers to tell stories from marginalised communities with some degree of responsibility.”

Representation Matters

Trinetra shares that her family and friends have been over the moon since the series came out and are loving her performance. That being said, she wasn’t too nervous about being alongside a stellar cast but felt that the pressure was largely internal, not knowing if her first time around would be doing justice to a community.

“One also has to realise that this is a character, Meher may have similarities to me but she isn’t me. Further, she wasn’t written by me and I was only doing my best as an actor, placing my complete trust in the storytelling of this. When men play male characters, they aren’t exactly playing themselves. They’re playing characters,” she avers.

Similarly, I may be trans but just by playing a trans character, I’m not really playing myself. Meher is very calm, reserved, and introverted. Nothing about her comes across as stark. That isn’t me at all in real life, I’m far more outspoken and outrageous (laughs). Meher is characteristically understated. Actors should be able to play anything in an equal world, but in a world where trans people get little to no opportunity, it’s incredible that I got to play a main part in a mainstream OTT release. This was the first time that happened in India, and that’s a matter of pride for me.”

What Next?

Trinetra is often asked if she’d switch to being an actor permanently or go back to practicing. She concludes by stating, “The two worlds are very different and require your complete focus, especially if you don’t have family that comes from these worlds. I figured that if I want to be really good at something, it needs to be a priority. Therefore, I made the move to Mumbai post-internship, shortly before Made in Heaven was released. It’s been less than a week, let’s hold our horses a little and enjoy the moment while it lasts.”

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