Starring trans actor for lead role in 'Joyland' was critical: Malala

Nobel laureate and human rights activist Malala Yousafzai recently tried her hand at filmmaking as a medium of activism

By Web Desk
March 04, 2023
Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai. — SkyNews video screngrab

Pakistani Nobel laureate and human rights activist Malala Yousafzai, who recently tried her hand at filmmaking as a medium of activism via her film 'Joyland', said that starring a trans actor for the lead role in the movie was "critical".

Malala is the executive producer of the film Joyland, Pakistan's first major film to feature a trans actor. It highlights issues of the transgender community in the country.

The motion picture is directed by Saim Sadiq and is an Oscars contender from Pakistan.

"I'm so grateful that Saim made sure the trans role was played by a trans woman. This was critical," the activist said in a recent interview with SkyNews.

Malala said that everyone getting a chance to make it to the screen was a significant achievement for Pakistan.

"Everyone's story is important. Everyone's story deserves to be told by them. And a trans person should be given the rights that everybody else is given," she said.

She regretted that it was unfortunate that people talking about such issues being presented on screens is unacceptable in society. "I hope that we challenge that," the activist added.

What's Malala's next step in human rights work?

Malala, who is also a women's and girls education rights activist, looks to create safe spaces for all women under her human rights mission.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner said that the next phase of her human rights work needed to include storytelling.

"Activism needs to go beyond working for an NGO," Malala said, adding that other ways to challenge social norms denying basic rights to women should be explored.

She said that the screen was a medium to connect with people and builds tolerance among people for others.

Joyland was released worldwide but banned by the censor board of Pakistan over “highly objectionable material”. The restriction drew severe criticism and support for the film, and after some edits and approval by the censor board, the film was released across the country.

While speaking to SkyNews, Sadiq said that the film "turned out to be a big act of resistance".