Tista Das

Last updated

Tista Das
Tista Das.jpg
Tista Das in 2018
Born (1978-05-09) 9 May 1978 (age 45)
Other namesTista Mitra

Tista Das (Bengali : তিস্তা দাস) [1] or Teesta Das (born 9 May 1978) is an Indian transgender rights activist, actress and writer from the Indian state of West Bengal. She has acted in several Hindi and Bengali films.


Personal life

From a very early age, Das felt more inclined to her current gender identity as it is today, but her school labeled her as a boy. When she decided to come out as a woman to her family, they initially didn't accept her gender identity. After several years of at her university and in the street, and the onset of depression from her home life, Das left to go to an NGO, called Rikti. Here, an advocate, Santiranjan Basu found a job for her, as an proofreader. In 2003, she went back to her family where they finally accepted her as a woman [2]

A year later, Das underwent sex reassignment surgery under Dr. Sheila Rohatgi, a prominent plastic surgeon from Kolkata, paid thank to the help of her parents. The surgery coincided with her birthday, happening on May 9th, 2004. “I insisted that I be operated on this day. I wanted a rebirth and this was it”. [3] Following this, Tista went public with her identity and was the source of controversy and social upheaval regarding stereotypes associated with the transsexual community. Her case played a pivotal role in changing misconceptions in Indian society about transsexuality, and provoked a positive national debate in the press and the media on the ethics of sex change and transsexual rights in India. She is regarded by many as an icon of empowerment and choice for the transsexual community in India.

Aside from her work in activism, Tista is also a prominent actress with a string of film and television soap appearances to her credit.

Although she was rejected admission initially for undergraduate studies at Rabindra Bharati University, she graduated through correspondence from Bethune College of the University of Calcutta. [3]

In 2019, Das married Dipan Chakraborty, who is a transgender man. The occasion of their wedding made them the first married trans couple of West Bengal. [4]


Tista Das is an actress and community based counsellor by profession and has quite a few films and various television roles and appearances to her credit. She has also worked as research assistant in Calcutta for Rooprekha Chowdhury. a University of California, Berkeley fellow on a research project on the life style of trans-sexuals and their acceptance in society. [5]

She acted in Sohini Dasgupta's, documentary I Couldn't Be Your Son, Mom - "It is the story of a courageous young person who denies the life she has been given,” says Buddhadeb Dasgupta who has produced the 20- minute documentary directed by Sohini Dasgupta. [6] She played a role in Subrata Dutta’s 45-minute film The Third Gender? which was screened at the Bulgaria film festival in 2006. She also plays the lead role in Beyond Reflections , a movie about her life directed by Umesh Bist.Tista Das also acted alongside June Maliah in Shankho Ghosh’s full-length feature film Ebong Fera and telefilm Naari where she plays a college girl.

She was selected for acting in one of Akash Bangla’s series Sahityer Sera Somoy. Tista Das is also getting ready with a book on her life, which she will call Shudhu Hridoyer Jonyo .In 2014, she has acted as Heroin in a 48 minutes short film called "Arekti Jiboner Golpo", based on a true story of a post operative Bengali Transsexual girl. The film was tribute to the film maker Rituparno Ghosh. [2]

She completed two films in Bengali where she played the protagonist of the film. In Hrisikesh Mondal's docu-feature Achena Bondhutto Tista Das played as a Psychological counselor. Her role in Achena Bondhutto is about the battle to gain acceptance and convince people that the Transgender community has many more things to do than clapping hands and exposing offences. The film's theme song has been sung by leading Bengali rock singers like Rupam Islam of Fossils, Sidhu of Cactus and Surojit Chatterjee of Bhoomi - all of whom have thrown their weight behind the project. [7]

On the other movie punorbasan , Tista Das played the lead role of an intersexed daughter of a jamindar family in Sobha Bazar. She appeared as a painter in the film who fall in love of a documentary film maker came from Mumbai. This is the first film of a senior journalist Jishnudeep Barman who is really happy and satisfied to cast Tista Das as heroine in the story.

Having had positive responses from some of Calcutta's well-known theater companies, Tista Das was supposed to join Shaonli Mitra’s Pancham Baidik. But rejected because of her free gender expression in media. Finally she joined in the intimate unconventional theater group Bivaban Theatre Academy. As times goes on she was invited to take part in many stage plays from many theater groups in Kolkata.


Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rituparno Ghosh</span> Indian film director, actor, writer, and lyricist

Rituparno Ghosh was an Indian film director, actor, writer and lyricist. After pursuing a degree in economics, he started his career as a creative artist at an advertising agency. He received recognition for his second feature film Unishe April which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film. Having won 19 National Awards, along with his contemporaries Aparna Sen and Goutam Ghose, Rituparno heralded contemporary Bengali cinema to greater heights. Ghosh died on 30 May 2013 in Kolkata after a heart attack. Ghosh was also one of the openly homosexual personalities in Indian cinema.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Narayan Gangopadhyay</span> Bengali writer

Narayan Gangopadhyay, also known as Narayan Ganguly, was an Indian novelist, poet, essayist, and short story writer, and one of the leading writers of modern Bengali literature. He introduced the endearing character of Tenida in his famous stories of children's literature. He took up "Narayan" as his pen name. He married his brother in law's niece Renuka Devi, with whom he had his only daughter Basabi (Bani). His wife Renuka Ganguly and daughter Basabi Roy Chowdhury were also eminent writers and teachers. Renuka Ganguly died on 10 February 2010 whereas, Basabi Roy Chowdhury recently died on 17 December 2021, and was survived by 6 children, and grandchildren.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Narendranath Mitra</span> Indian writer and poet (1916–1975)

Narendranath Mitra was an Indian writer and poet, best known for his short stories in the Bengali-language. Several of his works have been adapted into films, such as Mahanagar directed by Satyajit Ray.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jasodhara Bagchi</span>

Jasodhara Bagchi was a leading Indian feminist professor, author, critic and activist. She was the founder and director of the School of Women's Studies at Jadavpur University. Her books include Loved and Unloved – The Girl Child and Trauma and Triumph – Gender and Partition in Eastern India. She also founded the women's rights organization Sachetana.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jaya Ahsan</span> Bangladeshi film actress, model, producer and playback singer

Jaya Maswood popularly known as Jaya Ahsan, is a Bangladeshi film actress, model, producer and playback singer. Starting her career as a model and, later, as a television actress, she currently works mostly in Bangladeshi and Indian Bengali films. She won Bangladesh National Film Award for Best Actress six times for her performances in the films Guerrilla (2011), Chorabali (2012), Zero Degree (2015), Debi (2018), Alatchakra (2021), and Beauty Circus (2022). She also earned three Filmfare Awards East, Zee Cine Awards, and Meril-Prothom Alo Awards.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mohit Chattopadhyay</span> Indian Bengali playwright and poet (1934–2012)

Mohit Chattopadhyaya was a Bengali Indian playwright, screenwriter, dramatist and poet. He was a leading figure in modern Indian drama. Mohit Chottopadhya died on 12 April 2012. He had been suffering from cancer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nandan (Kolkata)</span> Movie theatre and cultural centre in Kolkata, India

Nandan is a government-sponsored film and cultural centre in Kolkata, India. The primary aim of the cultural hub is to encourage and facilitate cinematic awareness in society. It includes a few comparatively large screens housed in an impressively architectured building. The complex, besides being a modern cinema and cultural complex, is a popular destination for the young and the aged alike.

Sohini Paul is a Bengali Indian film actress. She is the daughter of actor-politician Tapas Paul and his wife, Nandini.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Paoli Dam</span> Indian actress

Paoli Dam is an Indian actress who started her career with the Bengali television serial Jibon Niye Khela (2003). She then worked in Bengali television serials such as Tithir Atithi and Sonar Harin; the former ran for six years on ETV Bangla. Dam spent her childhood in Kolkata, earning a postgraduate degree in chemistry from Rajabazar Science College. Initially, she wanted to become a chemical researcher or a pilot. Her debut Bengali film—Teen Yaari Katha, directed by Sudeshna Roy and Abhijit Guha—began in 2004, but was not released until 2012. Dam's first film release was Agnipariksha, directed by Ravi Kinagi. Between 2006 and 2009, she appeared in five Bengali films, coming into prominence with the 2009 Kaalbela, directed by Goutam Ghose.

<i>Arekti Premer Golpo</i> 2010 Indian Bengali-language film

Arekti Premer Golpo is a 2010 Indian drama film directed by Bengali filmmaker Kaushik Ganguly, written by Kaushik Ganguly. It stars Rituparno Ghosh and Indraneil Sengupta, with Ghosh playing a transgender filmmaker. It is the first film on queerness to be shot after the Delhi High Court struck down portions of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code in July 2009 as unconstitutional with respect to gay sex. The film premiered at the 60th Berlin Film Festival in 2010.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nusrat Jahan</span> Indian actress and politician

Nusrat Jahan Ruhi is an Indian actress who predominantly works in Bengali cinema. In 2019, Jahan became actively involved in politics and was elected as Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha from Basirhat constituency as a Trinamool Congress candidate. Jahan's screen debut was in Raj Chakraborty's Shotru.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Satarupa Sanyal</span> Film director

Satarupa Sanyal is a Bengali Indian independent or parallel cinema film director, producer, actress, poet and social activist, based in Kolkata, India.

Churni Ganguly is an Indian actress and director who mainly works in Bengali movies and television productions. She received the Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards in 2005 in the best actress category for the movie Waarish, in which she played a single-mother's role. She won two National Film Awards for her directorial ventures Nirbashito and Tarikh.

Sohini Sengupta is an Indian film and theatre actress. Daughter of actor Rudraprasad Sengupta and Swatilekha Sengupta, who are also active in theatre, Sohini is one of the leading actors of the Bengali theatre group Nandikar. As a member of the group, she has worked with prominent theatre personalities such as Debshankar Halder, Sumanto Gangopadhyay and Parthapratim Deb, and was awarded Sangeet Natak Akademi's 2007 Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar for contributions to theatre. She also played a supporting role in Aparna Sen’s film Paromitar Ek Din (2000) for which she won the Best Supporting Actress award at the 2000 National Film Awards.

Chapal Bhaduri is the last living female impersonator in Bengali theatre and perhaps even in Indian theatre. He did female impersonation in Jatra, a form of Bengali folk theatre. In 2010, he starred in a Bengali Film Arekti Premer Golpo which was directed by Kaushik Ganguly and written by Ganguly and Rituparno Ghosh.

Ena Saha is an Indian film and television actress and producer who predominantly appears in Bengali films and television shows. She is known for her portrayals in the films Cheena Badam, SOS Kolkata, Bhoot Chaturdashi, Bonnyo Premer Golpo. She has also done a Malayalam film named You Too Brutus (film), a hindi film called Chauranga. She has also done a Telugu film named Lanka.

Birsa Dasgupta is an Indian Bengali film director based in Tollywood.He has directed films such as Shudhu Tomari Jonyo, Gangster, Mukhosh and Byomkesh O Durgo Rahasya

Nandita Roy is an Indian filmmaker and screenwriter. She made her directorial debut with the film Icche (2011) along with her co-director Shiboprosad Mukherjee. The two have also directed Accident, Muktodhara, Alik Sukh, Ramdhanu, Bela Seshe, Haami, Praktan, Posto (film), Konntho, Gotro. She has been a part of several projects and has worked with many renowned directors.

Sukhen Das was an Indian actor, director, screenwriter and story writer of Bengali cinema.

Ratna Ghoshal is an Indian film and television actress. She began her career as a supporting actress. She set foot in the world of acting through the film Raja Rammohun.


  1. "Gender bender: will and way to cross over". The Telegraph (Calcutta) .
  2. 1 2 Ghosal, Sutanuka. "For Kolkata's Tista das, who was trapped for long in a male body, the battle for acceptance isn't quite over". The Economic Times.
  3. 1 2 "Tista's struggle". The Statesman . Archived from the original on 1 January 2009.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  4. "Meet the first transgender married couple from West Bengal - Times of India". The Times of India. 23 August 2019. Retrieved 6 June 2022.
  5. "A Journey of Self Discovery". Society.[ permanent dead link ]
  6. "I could not be your son, mom". The Free Press Journal .
  7. "First Bengali film casting LGBT community awaits release". The Business Standard .