Yash Raj Films has launched India’s first transgender band called ‘6 pack’. It consists of six musicians from the ancient Hijra transgender community, who were selected from a group of around 200 auditioners from the Mumbai area. The band’s first song, Hum Hain Happy, is out now, which is a cover of Pharell Williams song, Happy. It took the internet by storm: in three days, it collected almost one and a half million hits on YouTube. The video of this album begins with film actress and producer Anushka Sharma’s voiceover:
“The third gender: ignored by most, tolerated by some, misunderstood by all. In India, the “Hijra’s” are a community almost in exile. standing out at traffic signals after failing to blend in, knocking on our windows in the hope for some kindness and perhaps a smile. But when they don’t get either, they keep their chin up and find a way to simply be… Happy”
The song is a push for wider acceptance of the Indian transgender community, with Bollywood stars Sonu Nigam and Sharma participating in the project. Nigam described the song as a “game changer”:
“It (the band) is an outstanding initiative. I’m just honoured to be a part of it,” he said. “This is not samaj seva (social work -ed) that we are doing. It’s going to be a game-changer in the entertainment industry, whether it’s in music-making or events,”
Notwithstanding the fact that the Hijra have been a part of Indian society for thousands of years, a supreme court verdict recognizing the third gender and the introduction of a transgender rights bill in 2015, Indian transgenders still face a lot of discrimination. The court verdict isn’t implemented in all states, transgenders still face social exclusion and even have difficulties obtaining official documents.