© Stardust Filmverleih GmbH

Between the Lines - Indiens drittes Geschlecht
Germany 2005

Opening 31 Aug 2006

Directed by: Thomas Wartmann
Writing credits: Dorothea Rieker, Thomas Wartmann
Principal actors: Laxmi , Rhamba , Asha , Anita Khemka

Photographer Anita Khemka records the lives of three transvestites or hijras in Bombay. She vividly portrays the heat and crowds of the city while giving us insights to Laxmi, Rhamba, and Asha, all members of the so-called third sex, neither man nor woman, who were born “as the result of their parents mistakes.” This group has a niche in India: they attend, uninvited, baptisms, weddings, etc.,, to bless the guest of honor. They are welcomed with various degrees of enthusiasm, but always leave with some money for their trouble. They are organized in families with a “mother” as head of the house. Often they adopt children – mainly girls, whom they raise and educate and are supported in return when the children are adults. Thus they have a life for themselves, some more successfully than others. Laxmi is a charismatic dance teacher and choreographer as well as a prostitute. Rhamba was castrated at the age of 10. She is a go-go dancer in a night club and “marries” her boy friend (who is already married and has a family) during an annual festival of eunuchs. Asha drinks, begs, lives on the street and curses those who refuse her money. In this excellent documentary, director ThomasWartmann, has opened a window to a life which seems foreign, but the people in the window are real. They have dreams and disappointments and seek love like anyone else, at the same time juggling their status of belong to a “third gender” where their “soul is fighting with their bodies.” (Becky Tan)

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