The trailer of Paurashpur, a period drama starring Annu Kapoor, Milind Soman, Shaheer Sheikh, Shilpa Shinde, and Poulomi Das, was released by Zee5 on Tuesday. The show, which is being promoted as the “ultimate battle of the sexes,” will stream on Zee5 and Alt Balaji from December 29 onwards.
Alt Balaji also shared the trailer on his social media channel.
View this post on Instagram
Directed by Sachindra Vats, Paurashpur has been described by its makers as “the mystery of the missing queens” and compared with Game of Thrones. According to Zee5, it is based on the lives of kings, queens, and their pawns who play a twisted battle of sexes to attain power, domination, and destroy patriarchy.
The trailer features Maharaja Bhadra Pratap Singh, played by Kapoor and his first wife Rani Meerawati, played by Shinde. It also shows Milind Soman as a trans person who seeks gender equality and questions the male king on whether gender differences are necessary. The trailer seems to suggest that Shinde and Soman’s characters would form an alliance to overthrow the male order.
With most trans roles in films given to cis actors, the casting of Milind Soman as a trans person has been questioned by many in the LGBTQIA+ community.
Another cis actor playing trans person’s character. Filmmakers will never learn how diversity works ?? It’s the flavour of season portraying trans people on screen. Damage they have been doing is unimaginable.
— Tangana antoinette 🏳️🌈 (@udhan_khatola) December 6, 2020
https://t.co/61COB7wDQw Surprise! Yet again a cis hetero guy playing a trans role.
— Sri Krishna A (@srikri_a) December 5, 2020
While portraying trans persons as villains or objects of ridicule has been routine, these depictions are increasingly being called out, with many in the industry and outside refusing to allow such representations without protest.
The most recent portrayal of a trans person in cinema was the Hindi remake of Raghava Lawrence’s Tamil film Kanchana. Laxmii, featuring Akshay Kumar, was criticised for its half-hearted approach, with activist Nadika Nadja writing, “You take something with a bit of soul, and in the process of remaking it, strip it of that very soul.”
For Paurashpur, not only does it cast a cis person in a trans role, but for a film that claims to show a power battle between the two genders, its official poster prominently displays its cis male leads.
Cast members Shaheer Sheikh and Shilpa Shinde are well-known for their work in Indian television. While Sheikh is best known for Kuch Rang Pyar Ke Aise Bhi and Yeh Rishtey Hain Pyaar Ke, Shinde became a household name after winning the reality show Bigg Boss in 2018.
Most period dramas that have aired on Indian television till date have been adaptations of the lives of freedom fighters and epics from Indian history. These include, Jodhaa Akbar, Dharti ka Veer Yodha Prithviraj Chauhan, Chakravartin Ashok Samrat, Maharana Pratap, Chanakya and Mahabharat, to name a few.
Paurashpur is however entirely fictional.
The show is produced by Sachin Mohite under the banner Jaasvand Entertainment.