The recently released Hindi series Paatal Lok on Amazon Prime has emerged to be a quite winner in a short time. The lead characters of the series imply a powerful impact but the supporting actors are no less with their brilliant roles.
Mairemban Ronaldo Singh who plays the role of Cheeni is a trans woman in real life. Paatal Lok is the first web series that gave us a transgender character. While the film industry took years to represent a third gender character, the web series like Sacred Games and Paatal Lok broke all the barriers.
Cheeni is one of the four people who are arrested for the murder conspiracy of Sanjeev Mehra. A transgender, whose role in the mission was to pretend to be a woman and allow safe passage for the others, Cheeni’s story and struggles held up a mirror to society’s inhuman treatment of the LGBTQ+ community.
In a recent interview, the casting director of the show said that Mairemban is a theatre artist from Manipur. Nikita Grover who played the role of the cop in the series is also a casting associate was the one who found Mairemban.
“We needed a trans person for this part and we needed a Manipuri. These things could be difficult for casting directors. I remember watching Mary Kom and being disappointed with the casting. I remember casting experiences where I just didn’t know how to go about it: If you have to cast a South African team in Inside Edge, how do you cast the team? So Nikita went to Manipur, found out local theatre groups, and found this gem of an actor. It’s the biggest win for us as a casting company till date. More than Mairembam, I think it’s our pleasure to get her first screen role as an actor,” the casting director Abhishek said.
Abhishek also said that it was tough convincing her parents and partner took a lot of effort, as it was important to cast someone who actually understood the character. As the success of Paatal Lok has shown, when a well-developed story marries honest performances, then actors automatically become ‘heroes’.