Benjamin Daimary has become the first openly gay actor to win a National Award. He was awarded the jury special mention at the 67th National Film Awards on 22 March for his portrayal of Jahnu, a transgender, in Prakash Deka’s Assamese film Jonaki Poruwa.
Growing up, Benjamin describes himself as an introverted kid but eventually, his character changed with his work life.
“From the very beginning, I knew I was different. I did not know about gay or LGBTQ, but I knew I was different. Before 2014, I was shy and an introvert. But when I started learning acting, I realized I did not need to be an introvert if I am gay, I can be an extrovert too. I did not need to hide,” he told the media.
Benjamin Daimary did not want to become an actor. He wanted to be a fashion designer and eventually a professional make-up artist. However, “acting happened”. Many people criticized him for playing a transgender’s role, which people asserted should have been played by a person of the orientation. Meanwhile, Benjamin received positive feedback, nominations, and multiple awards for his first time acting.
The actor-makeup artist also asserted that the country’s northeastern states are more accepting of the LGBTQIA+ community, especially states like Assam. Benjamin says that he was lucky, his family accepted his sexual orientation but has to still deal with the bully culture.
Benjamin is currently working on an Assamese web series. He has also been auditioning for Bollywood projects and is hopeful of landing a good film very soon.