Malayalam filmmaker Pradeep Chokli is making a film based on the life of late trans woman Annanyah Kumari Alex, Kerala’s first transgender assembly election candidate and radio jockey.

28-year-old Annanyah was found dead at her flat in Kochi on July 20. According to the police, it was suspected to be a case of death by suicide. Before her death, Anannyah, who underwent a sex reassignment surgery in June 2020, had spoken out against the hospital and the doctor who performed the procedure, complaining that she was under tremendous pain following the surgery and could not even do her routine job.

Speaking to Silverscreen India, director Pradeep said Annanyah’s death was shocking and saddening. “I first met Annanyah at the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) in Thalassery earlier this year. She was one of the anchors there. At that time, I had plans to make a film on the transgender community and wanted to cast her in it. She was also happy and eager to be a part of the film. However, the project could not take off immediately due to the assembly elections and the second wave of Covid-19. In the wake of her untimely death, we have now decided to make a film based on her life,” Pradeep added. 

He also clarified that the film will only talk about the struggles she faced in her life and not explore the aspects surrounding her death. “We are currently doing research for the project. Annanyah had lived and worked in many places. We will be visiting those places and meeting her friends to know more about her. The film aims to highlight issues faced by the transgender community and will also talk about how their families and society can support them for better living conditions,” Pradeep said. 

He noted that he will be collaborating with some of his friends for the project. The production banner and technical crew have not been finalised yet. However, Pradeep said that makeup artists, costume designers and other technicians from the transgender community will be part of the crew.

Pradeep Chokli, who was earlier a film poster designer and art director, made his directorial debut with Pradakshinam in 1994. He is best known for the critically-acclaimed film English Medium (1999), starring Sreenivasan and Mukesh.