Transgender actress Alina Khan opens up about her experience of working in “Joyland” with BBC Urdu

Mahnoor Jalal

Mahnoor Jalal


The film “Joyland” has been receiving positive feedbacks for putting trans women on the front screen for the first time ever, and it was the first ever Pakistani film to receive a seven minute clap at the Cannes film festival and received the award “Un Certain Regard”.

The main actress Alina Khan, who plays the role of the dancer Biba who falls in love with Haider, opened up about her experience of working on the film and why she wanted to pick such a role.

“The main reason why I wanted to work on such a film was to help empower the trans community in Pakistan. Because of the international acclaim this film received, my parents have begun to accept me for who I am and have seen that being a trans woman isn’t only about prostitution or begging, but there are trans women who are working in fields like acting and are making a lot of money and are famous worldwide.”

Alina also spoke about how she approached the role of Biba and what method did she take to connect to her character:

“I was very fond of acting since I was a child, but I wasn’t sure that there would be any opportunities available for trans women to work on screen. But when Saim offered me the chance to work on this film, I made sure to leave all of my other commitments behind so I could give this role everything that I have. Saim would give me the script, and I would closely go over every line and study it closely to see what it reveals about Biba’s character.”

Alina also said that she hopes that her film would play a role in encouraging Pakistanis to accept trans people as equal citizens so that more trans women get to live with their families and have a normal life:

“Because of the reason that I am a trans, I have grown up facing a lot of stigma from outside, and especially from my brother and sisters who use to call me the slur khusra. But through this film, I want people to accept trans women in to their families, and show them that just like me, they want to live with their families and just have normal lives.”

You can watch the full interview below: