New Delhi: She is gorgeous alright, but did you know that Cuckoo, the character Kubra is portraying in Netflix’s Sacred Games, is a bar dancer who happens to be a transgender? Yes, you read that right.
Talking about her role Kubra says, “I’m playing a bar dancer in the ’80s-90s and Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s love interest, who also happens to be a transgender. She’s quite the diva. It’s very easy to fall in love with her.”
“A transgender is someone who is undergoing a gender change. Cuckoo’s a man who’s a woman. Transgender means ‘in transition of gender’,” Kubra says defining her character in the web-series.
Wouldn’t she have preferred to do a glamorous role in a film like Veere Di Wedding instead? The actor says, “I am not glamorous enough, honestly. I’ve been told I’m tomboyish all my life. I took it as a compliment, though. I was always open to doing every role that came my way, but I just played what I was given. Even when I wanted to do a particular role and approached people for it, I was told that my nose was too big, that I should get a nose-job done. People said I had to laser my hairline, they said I have a very tomboyish approach, I don’t look like a girl-next-door… So I was cool, and thought something else would come my way.”
And something else did come her way, something big, “For me, it was the character of a person, not of a transgender. We seem to glorify or divide the third gender because it’s a third gender. But it is time for us to wear our physicality, our personality, our mental and emotional stability as one. We all belong to the same world. We’ve been fighting the caste system for so many years, at least we’ve reached somewhere with it, I’m sure we’ll reach somewhere with this as well.
“Playing Cuckoo was very liberating for me. Being a transgender in the ’80s she was extremely dynamic, gorgeous, and super powerful. She was the queen of Bombay,” says the actress who sounds smitten by the role she is playing.
“It is we who have drawn lines differentiating who’ll do what work or who belongs to what gender… Man-made customs and rules divide our society. But it’s a great time to be gender neutral. There are so many movements across the world, where people can proudly be who they are, it’s a great time to be a voice of change.
“I’m so glad that we have had so many consequential rallies and parades which have now educated people and made them stand up for the third gender and give them the absolute place in our society that they deserve. There should have never been a division in the first place, though,” says Kubra.
She barely had the time to prepare for the role, Kubra says, “Anurag Kashyap said just ‘bring your honest self, your life experiences and we’ll work out the rest.’ So I think my greatest challenge was not playing a transgender but a dancer! I had to take dancing lessons. It was a beautiful experience working in the series.”
“Initially, you won’t even realise that she’s a transgender, she’s just who she is. She wears her personality with pride and that’s what makes her character beautiful. When you watch her in the series, you’ll go ‘wow’,” explained Kubra who got the opportunity for working with her, favourite actor, Nawazuddin Siddqui, “I had a fantastic experience, I find him to be the best lover on earth, ever. He has a super calming energy.”