Eka by director King Jones explores intersexuality
The period of awareness is over. Our recent literary and cinematic movements—which includes characters like Anjum, the trans woman narrator in Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness—stress the need to break away from the binary understanding of gender. Addressing us from the aforementioned position is Eka, which features an intersex person (born with both male and female genitalia), as its lead. As it follows the journey of Eka Sindoori, from Tamil Nadu to Kerala with her Malayali friend Laila, the 120-minute-long production tries to open up a debate centred around the politics of the human body. “A rare condition, one out of every 10,000 children are born as intersex. But most of them are subjected to corrective surgeries right away,” begins Jones, a documentary filmmaker who has previously worked with Films Division of India. Presenting a narrative rooted in the physical presence of the human body, Jones is determined to address concerns including society’s aversion towards the mainstream depiction of the female nipple and body hair through the film.
Rooting for resistance
A research-based project, the 31-year-old is confident as he tells us that Eka might very well be the first Indian film dealing with the subject. Born out of his constant interaction with members of the non-binary community, the film has Rehana Fatima, a government official and gender rights activist essaying the role of Eka Sindoori.“Both Rehana and I have previously come under public scrutiny owing to various reasons including our politics. But, the film somehow is generating positive engagements on social media,” adds the journalism graduate. However, Facebook was quick to move, by taking down Jones’ profile for uploading the film’s poster which explicitly shows a woman’s nipple. But, this Kochiite isn’t the kind that backs down.“Regardless of what the industry and the regulatory bodies believe, the people are much more receptive to themes like this. I am making the kind of films I’ve been wanting to see on screen,” states the director, who ascertains that he will not allow the movie to be censored. Expressing his desire to work with subjects like Channar revolt, Jones hopes to come up with more projects soon.