A Monsoon Date:
The trio of a writer, director and actor who are women feels just safe when we see a film. We already know that things will be handled well. A monsoon date is a story about a woman who is on her way to a coffee shop to meet a guy she has been seeing for a month. As the title suggests, the backdrop is Mumbai’s monsoon. We see a young assigned male at birth who is seen running on a beach, applying lipstick on the mirror and holding back a lot with the hope that things will get better someday.
On her journey towards the cafe, she realises that she has booked a shared cab instead of a solo ride. Since she was running late, she took the cab.
The driver also converses a lot with her while she just listens. Maybe she’s too afraid to show something very precious to the world. She texts the guy that she has to tell him something and he replies that he is very excited to meet. She is joined by a couple who share their happiness of getting their daughter married by offering everyone dates. The woman initially hesitates but eventually picks one piece when they insist that she take one. After the couple disembarks, two girls enter the cab out of which one has had a fight with her boyfriend and is miserable, crying. She is offered the same date that the woman had picked for herself. The cab driver lightens the mood of the tense situation and after the girls drop off, the cab gets struck somewhere. Since the woman was in a hurry, she boarded an auto for the remaining distance.
On this trip, she comes face to face with a transgender woman who’s begging to earn their bread but she can’t find the courage to offer her anything. Not because she can’t afford but because she finds it difficult to come to terms with the fact that her passability and privilege have saved her from ending up in a similar situation. The auto executive gives her a 20 rupees note while saying, “Nobody gives them any job. How else will they survive.” The woman while deboarding the auto gives the driver a 500 rupee note when the actual fare was 200 rupees only. She was probably indirectly thanking him and expecting that he will keep helping those whom she is afraid to help.
We see the same child running on the beach uttering, “Ek din mujhe bhi koi milega, wo mujhse bahut pyaar karega. Duniya ka saara pyaar mujhe de dega” which is joined by the woman’s voice at the end. The kid was her past. The body that she was born in and the battle she had to put not just inside but also outside to be in her skin. She knows she is going to be left for the truth she is about to share with the guy whom she’s meeting. Since she was drenched completely in rain, her date gets up and tries to comfort her. He gives her a one month-versary gift but she keeps that on hold. She says, “Agar tum nahi bhi samajh sake to bhi it’s okay” and “this will change everything” to which the guy replies “nothing will change”
She says she is proud of who she is, firmly while showing him two pictures of her childhood. The guy says “cute hai” to which she replies, “cute hai”.
The truth has been shared and while for one tiny second she feels he won’t leave but he gets off the table and exits. She is left with the past moments where men have given different reactions to her identity and left. She sips her coffee and very proudly keeps those pictures in her bag.
A Monsoon Date is a perfect take on the fact that to a lot of people gender lies in sex and if that has been reassigned, medically or not, they cannot accept the change. She had no obligation to share her past, but she chose to do so maybe because she knew ‘this will change everything.’
The film is written by Gazal Dhaliwal, directed by Tanuja Chandra and stars Konkona Sen Sharma. Streaming on Eros Now and also Filmfare’s Facebook channel, it is a short film of 20 minutes.
Writer’s Note- As a woman if transgender experience myself, to all the trans people reading this, I hope you find love in whatever rare quantity it is available in the world or I hope it finds you if you are too afraid to bet your heart.
Have you watched the film? What are your thoughts?