Body of Our Own

Body of Our Own

9R5A7844

Feature Documentary

Feature Documentary

Meet the community of Hijras who refuse to dim their light for anyone.

Meet the community of Hijras who refuse to dim their light for anyone.

Meet the community of Hijras who refuse to dim their light for anyone.

9R5A7814
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Project

Lily Vetch, in collaboration with Rahemur Rahman, explores gender, sexuality, and class in Dhaka, Bangladesh, with four Hijras: Neshi, NoorJahan, Momo and Jannat as they sing, dance, nurture, and support each other.

'At a wedding or celebration marking the birth of a child across South East Asia, you might see a group of brightly dressed women singing and performing - offering blessings to the baby or newlyweds. There may be an excited yet slightly paranoid look in the guests’ eyes as they take in the performance because the women singing and dancing are Hijras, a community traditionally classed as a third gender who occupy a paradoxical position in South-East Asian culture; they are both feared and revered. They wield the power to bless or curse. Their place at important societal ceremonies dates back centuries to when they were more respected and celebrated. However, this changed when British colonial rule took over South-East Asia, and the Hijra were deemed criminal and immoral. As a result, Hijras are viewed with fear and suspicion today and often live on the fringes of society. Choosing freedom of expression over shame and repression, many Hijra leave home or are forced to leave and instead find support within chosen family structures under the guidance of an elder “Guru Ma”.' 

Feature documentary, currently in development.

Lily Vetch, in collaboration with Rahemur Rahman, explores gender, sexuality, and class in Dhaka, Bangladesh, with four Hijras: Neshi, NoorJahan, Momo and Jannat as they sing, dance, nurture, and support each other.

'At a wedding or celebration marking the birth of a child across South East Asia, you might see a group of brightly dressed women singing and performing - offering blessings to the baby or newlyweds. There may be an excited yet slightly paranoid look in the guests’ eyes as they take in the performance because the women singing and dancing are Hijras, a community traditionally classed as a third gender who occupy a paradoxical position in South-East Asian culture; they are both feared and revered. They wield the power to bless or curse. Their place at important societal ceremonies dates back centuries to when they were more respected and celebrated. However, this changed when British colonial rule took over South-East Asia, and the Hijra were deemed criminal and immoral. As a result, Hijras are viewed with fear and suspicion today and often live on the fringes of society. Choosing freedom of expression over shame and repression, many Hijra leave home or are forced to leave and instead find support within chosen family structures under the guidance of an elder “Guru Ma”.' 

Feature documentary, currently in development.

Lily Vetch, in collaboration with Rahemur Rahman, explores gender, sexuality, and class in Dhaka, Bangladesh, with four Hijras: Neshi, NoorJahan, Momo and Jannat as they sing, dance, nurture, and support each other.

'At a wedding or celebration marking the birth of a child across South East Asia, you might see a group of brightly dressed women singing and performing - offering blessings to the baby or newlyweds. There may be an excited yet slightly paranoid look in the guests’ eyes as they take in the performance because the women singing and dancing are Hijras, a community traditionally classed as a third gender who occupy a paradoxical position in South-East Asian culture; they are both feared and revered. They wield the power to bless or curse. Their place at important societal ceremonies dates back centuries to when they were more respected and celebrated. However, this changed when British colonial rule took over South-East Asia, and the Hijra were deemed criminal and immoral. As a result, Hijras are viewed with fear and suspicion today and often live on the fringes of society. Choosing freedom of expression over shame and repression, many Hijra leave home or are forced to leave and instead find support within chosen family structures under the guidance of an elder “Guru Ma”.' 

Feature documentary, currently in development.

Lily Vetch, in collaboration with Rahemur Rahman, explores gender, sexuality, and class in Dhaka, Bangladesh, with four Hijras: Neshi, NoorJahan, Momo and Jannat as they sing, dance, nurture, and support each other.

'At a wedding or celebration marking the birth of a child across South East Asia, you might see a group of brightly dressed women singing and performing - offering blessings to the baby or newlyweds. There may be an excited yet slightly paranoid look in the guests’ eyes as they take in the performance because the women singing and dancing are Hijras, a community traditionally classed as a third gender who occupy a paradoxical position in South-East Asian culture; they are both feared and revered. They wield the power to bless or curse. Their place at important societal ceremonies dates back centuries to when they were more respected and celebrated. However, this changed when British colonial rule took over South-East Asia, and the Hijra were deemed criminal and immoral. As a result, Hijras are viewed with fear and suspicion today and often live on the fringes of society. Choosing freedom of expression over shame and repression, many Hijra leave home or are forced to leave and instead find support within chosen family structures under the guidance of an elder “Guru Ma”.' 

Feature documentary, currently in development.

Lily Vetch, in collaboration with Rahemur Rahman, explores gender, sexuality, and class in Dhaka, Bangladesh, with four Hijras: Neshi, NoorJahan, Momo and Jannat as they sing, dance, nurture, and support each other.

'At a wedding or celebration marking the birth of a child across South East Asia, you might see a group of brightly dressed women singing and performing - offering blessings to the baby or newlyweds. There may be an excited yet slightly paranoid look in the guests’ eyes as they take in the performance because the women singing and dancing are Hijras, a community traditionally classed as a third gender who occupy a paradoxical position in South-East Asian culture; they are both feared and revered. They wield the power to bless or curse. Their place at important societal ceremonies dates back centuries to when they were more respected and celebrated. However, this changed when British colonial rule took over South-East Asia, and the Hijra were deemed criminal and immoral. As a result, Hijras are viewed with fear and suspicion today and often live on the fringes of society. Choosing freedom of expression over shame and repression, many Hijra leave home or are forced to leave and instead find support within chosen family structures under the guidance of an elder “Guru Ma”.' - Words by Danielle Pender

Feature documentary, currently in development.

Creative Team

Directors, Execs & Producers: Lily & Rahemur

Executive Producer: Lara Salam

Producer: Sheemtana Shamim

Trip One

DOP: Michael Filocamo 

Sound Recordist: Nahid Masud

Edit: Chloe Hardwick

Sound Design: Edward A Guy 

Grade: Liz Glennard

Translations: Amiya Dewan, Kaushikee Gupta

Disciplines

Directing

Cinematography

Sound Recording

Producing

Editing

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