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The story of Baby Kusum is such an intriguing and horrifying tale. It is a story about life imitating art in a grotesque and bizarre way. This film seeks to probe into the mechanism that operates behind the creation of dreams.
It highlights a phenomenon that was peculiar and exclusive to the Indian film industry--- the practise of casting children in roles opposite to their natural genders. We have had many instances of young girls being cast as boys in films and vice versa. Their screen names used to be changed to suit the gender they were playing on screen.
Interestingly, in Raja Harishchandra, the first narrative film made in India, a man portrayed the heroine's role. It was a common practice in Indian theatre till the middle half of the last century, to cast men in women's roles.
In cinema however, verisimilitude was sought to a greater degree and hence the entire persona of the performer had to be changed to suit the screen image. It is difficult to ascertain gender of children by their appearance. Their clothes and hairdos often demarcate them.
So the practice of casting perky kids, who could deliver effortless performances, in roles that were not representing their own gender, was widely practiced in Indian films.