MAIREMBAM RONALDO SINGH, THE REAL-LIFE TRANSWOMAN WHO PLAYED CHEENI IN 'PAATAL LOK'
"Her name is Mairembam Ronaldo Singh, but I used to call her Ronaldo. I don’t know whether this is a spoiler, but she is a transgender. We needed a trans person for this part and we needed a Manipuri. This is a difficult challenge for casting directors," Banerjee said.
“So Nikita Grover (my casting associate as well as the girl who plays the female cop in the show) went to Manipur, found out local theatre groups, and found this gem of an actor. It’s the biggest win for us as a casting company to date. More than Mairembam, I think it’s our pleasure to get her first screen role as an actor. Of course, she had pressure from her family. We went and convinced them. One special trip went into just getting her convinced, after which we got her to Mumbai.”
“We tried to make her feel comfortable as much as possible. And she did a brilliant job. We are a country of 130 crores. If we say that we don’t have such people in India to play that character then it’s a problem. The responsibility of casting directors is not to cast only people who are working, or whoever is visible or is in your circle. Their job is to find actors. If they are not doing that, then they are running a dukaan," concluded Abhishek Banerjee.