All photographs courtesy Kami Syed
All photographs courtesy Kami Syed

Kami Sid made headlines when she debuted as a model in November last year. The transgender activist used her fashion shoot with photographer Haseeb M Siddiqui to highlight the need for the mainstreaming of Pakistan's transgender community.

Now, Kami is set to appear in a short film to send another message about transgender rights. The film, titled Rani, has been directed by US-based director Hammad Rizvi and produced by Karachi-based production house GrayScale and hopes through this effort.

Kami will play a toy vendor named Rani in the short film
Kami will play a toy vendor named Rani in the short film

Says Kami about her film, "The short film is called Rani and I play the titular character, who is a transgender. The film was shot around the beginning of October and is in post production now. The story is absolutely brilliant."

"In the film, we've shown that transgenders can do a lot more than just sex work and dancing at weddings."

The film will raise awareness about the transgender community
The film will raise awareness about the transgender community

Images decided to get in touch with Assistant Producer Omema Nasir at production house GrayScale to find out more about Rani.

Images: What can Grayscale reveal about the film Rani at this point? What is the film about?

Omema: Rani tells the story of a transgender who makes a living selling toys on the streets of Karachi, Pakistan. One day she finds an abandoned baby, lying in a cradle outside an orphanage. Overcome by emotion, she picks the baby and takes it home. Later, after a series of distressing events, she realises the discrimination the child would face as a result of her decision.

The film was shot in October last year
The film was shot in October last year

Images: How did the project originate? Did a writer/director come to Grayscale with the story, or was the story idea also generated in-house?

Omema: The story was written and developed by Hammad Rizvi, an award winning filmmaker based in the US, who came to us with an early version of his script. Given the nature of projects we had been previously involved in, we partnered with Hammad immediately and took on the role of producing the film for him.

Kami was considered the perfect choice for the role
Kami was considered the perfect choice for the role

Images: Could you tell us a little about the casting process? Did you go through several actors or did you always have Kami in mind for the lead role? Are there any other known personalities in the film?

Omema: We were already working with Kami, on a short documentary film on transgenders, when we were approached by Hammad. We immediately knew Kami was the right choice for the role, and after sending Hammad a video audition, locked her for the role early on. This was one of the best decisions we made, as Kami was instrumental in helping us develop our story, our dialogues, and in the remainder of our casting process. We used genuine transgenders in the film, and used mainly non professional actors, along with some new talent we sourced through a casting agency.

Images: When and where is the film likely to be premiered?

Omema: The film is currently undergoing post production in the US. We are hoping for a premiere sometime towards the middle of this year, and plan to take it to a number of festivals worldwide. Currently we are still undecided where to premiere the film, but have already gained considerable interest in our story.

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