Taali web series review: Sushmita Sen nails it to near perfection as a transgender activist

Through the characters of Ganesh and Gauri, 'Taali' portrays struggle for the existence of a 'third gender' in our society.

ByShashiprasad S M

Published:Aug 15, 2023

Sushmita Sen in Taali
One of Sushmita's best performances!

Taali (Hindi)

  • Cast: Sushmita Sen, Krutika Deo, Aishwarya Narkar, Ankur Bhatia, Nadu Madhav, Hemangi Kavi, Anant Mahadevan, Vikram Bham, Sheetal Kale, and Suvrat Joshi
  • Director: Ravi Jadhav
  • Producers: Arjun Singgh Baran, Kartik D Nishandar, and Afeefa Nadiadwala Sayed
  • Music: Amitraj
  • No of Episodes: 6
  • OTT platform: Jio Cinema

The Hindi web series Taali, now streaming on Jio cinema, is based on the life of transgender activist Shreegauri Sawant and her journey as Ganesh to eventually becoming Gauri.

The six-episode series is an attempt to showcase the true struggle of Ganesh in becoming Gauri while in search of identity, fighting for survival, and then seeking the right to equality in society.

It is written by Kshitij Patwardhan and directed by Ravi Jadhav.

Through Ganesh and Gauri, Taali focuses on the struggle for the existence of a “third gender” in our society and how Gauri, as an individual, brought some relief to the transgender community.


A still from Taali

A still from ‘Taali’. (Supplied)

The first episode opens up with the premise set just hours before the Supreme Court of India was set to pronounce its historic judgement, recognising transgender people as the “third gender” in India.

Soon, the web series goes into flashback mode as Gauri (Sushmita Sen) is seen sharing her life’s journey with a foreign journalist.

We then meet Ganesh (Krutika Deo), the son of a police officer in Mumbai. Unlike other boys, his ambition is to become a “mother” by adopting a girl child when he grows up.

This is the beginning phase of finding an identity for Ganesh. His father (Nandu Madhav) is adamant about him being a boy to grow up as a man even as otherwise in the case of Ganesh.

Soon, Ganesh loses his mother and there comes a big turn in his life.

The rest of the biopic is the journey of Ganesh to Gauri and the struggle faced, eventually saving and bringing changes to many lives in the community and beyond.

Also Read: Mohanlal-Jeethu Joseph’s ‘Neru’ is a courtroom drama


Ravi Jadhav directorial Taali

Ravi Jadhav’s directorial ‘Taali’. (Supplied)

Presenting biopics on screen is a challenge in itself since the life on which it is based is already known to a majority of the audience. Moreover, keeping it realistic, in terms of making and performances is a Herculean task.

Fortunately, all three major departments right from writing for the screen, making, and the performances — mainly the personality in focus — have turned out to be more than satisfactory.

Of them all, the series leaves a good impression on the audience’s mind to experience a different life altogether.

Taali wins for a reason that it is not just a mere showcase of an individual and the achievement made by the person. It also serves the essence of life and human emotions that come attached to it in the right proportion.

Also Read: Experienced actresses should be counted too: Shanvi Srivastava

Sushmita as Gauri

Sushmita Sen as Shreegauri Sawant

Sushmita Sen as Shreegauri Sawant. (Jio Cinema/ Twitter)

A majority of transgender people’s roles on Indian screens are portrayed by men.

A queer film producer, Neeraj Churi rightly pointed out in an interview with South First that many cis-gender actors try to play transgender roles as if it is an acting challenge.

However, for a change and the good, actress Sushmita Sen plays a transgender character in Taali.

She plays it to near perfection such that her portrayal as Gauri will forever remain a highlight in her acting career.

No overdoing in the transgender person’s role and a majority of transgender people playing themselves in multiple support characters give Taali a realistic touch.

Related: Cisgender actors play transgender persons as if it is an acting challenge: Neeraj Churi

Emotionally charged

In a scene, during an interaction with her lawyer, Gauri points out that “we say Bharat mata” despite the name “Bharat” being male gender.

Several such emotionally charged scenes are brilliantly written emphasising the inner emotions of Gauri and her likes.

Taali also mirrors the bond between a child and her mother, likewise father, and even the undying faith in God.


A saint’s quote at the beginning of the series — “A person who serves the dejected and deprived is no lesser than God,” — makes good sense in the end after experiencing the life of Shreegauri, her personal struggle, constant efforts and achievements so far helping the transgender community.

(Views expressed here are personal.)