20 June 2006

Begum Nawazish Ali - Pakistani Transvestite Tv Hostess

Ali Salim's Alter Ego
Dressed to shock, the Begum has it her way
Begum (Mrs.) Nawazish AliBorn a boy, Ali Salim long prayed to God to make him a girl. Years later, he is the most famous female TV identity in this devoutly Muslim, male-dominated country, even though his physiology remains unchanged.

Salim’s chiffon-wearing alter ego, Begum (Mrs.) Nawazish Ali, has become an overnight star, using style and pomp to confront prickly topics with Pakistani politicians, Islamic religious figures and celebrities, posing questions that more established journalists routinely steer clear of.

He is very reminiscent of Dame Edna, Australian Barry Humphries’ famous alter ego for the stage and TV, but Salim says that his character was not inspired by the more slapstick Australian. “I have heard about Dame Edna and have also gone to his (Humphries’) Web site, but I am not motivated by his show,” he said. “I do it in my style and he does it in his.” However like Dame Edna, Salim’s teasing and sarcasm has allowed him to tackle head-on the discrimination women face in Pakistan’s male-dominated society. “My show is about empowering women psychologically,” Salim told the Associated Press on the set of his popular show filmed in Karachi. “I am trying to show people that there is no difference between men and women. I have no gender bias. Men and women are equally capable of doing all the same things, except for their reproductive roles.”

Since it first aired eight months ago, ‘The Begum Nawazish Ali Show’ has built up a massive following, particularly among younger Pakistanis such as college graduate Saima Kareem, 23, who says that Salim “Is asking hard questions of people who otherwise remain untouched by TV shows.”

Begum (Mrs.) Nawazish AliWhile very popular, Salim’s show has ruffled some feathers in a country where Islamic customs generally frown upon cross-dressing. “We decided to create a larger-than-life character to host a talk show where the host would be flirtatious and look good allowing her a strong footing with her guests,” Salim explained. “She can intimidate her guests and break through their tough exteriors to reach the inner person that he or she is.” On the set of a recent show, film producer Rashid Khawaja pondered whether his host could be cast as a heroine for a future movie. Deeply immersed in his character as Mrs Nawazish, Salim curled his lip and suggestively replied: “Well, I don’t want a small one, I want a BIG one,” before clarifying the remark with, “I don’t mean that kind of role, I mean a role in the film.” Naimatullah Khan, a former Karachi mayor and Islamic political leader said that he did not even know Salim was a man when he went on the show. “Although I had the chance to say what I had in mind, I do have reservations on the way he conducts himself and talks,” Khan said. “I don’t think it is good to perform like this. It is not acceptable in our society.”

Dressed in character (a sleeveless, low-necked, blood-red chiffon gown) for an interview with The Associated Press, Salim said that he grew up surrounded by women; his divorced mother and her friends. “Ever since I was a child I used to fantasize about growing as a woman,” he said. His role models included former prime ministers such as Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto, Margaret Thatcher of Britain, “and all other famous women of that time”.

Begum (Mrs.) Nawazish AliSalim said that his character helped put a modern face on a nation of 150 million people, which usually captures global attention through coups, earthquakes and war. “Begum Nawazish Ali represents the aspiration of all the Pakistanis who want a modern, progressive Pakistan,” Salim said. “She is the face of an enlightened, moderate Pakistan.” Salim said he plans one day to marry but only once he finds a partner of equal intellectual capacity. “I am a man performing as a woman,” he explained. “I don’t have a boyfriend or a girlfriend either.” Khalid Farshori, a senior media commentator in the weekly magazine Akhbar-e-Jahan, said that Salim’s show was groundbreaking and that it would encourage other channels to “come out with brilliant ideas to amuse viewers, who were fed up with the monotonous shows that we have here.”

Salim said he gets nothing but praise from his viewers, even after they realize he’s not really a woman. “Not a single piece hate mail or a threatening call,” he said. “Now people greet me on streets and show me love and respect.”

See an Episode (in Hindi) 30 mins in all

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


  1. I hope for more women to be psychologically empowered.. and more people to be intellectualy matured and enlightened to accept human beings as they are..



  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. sorry dear, actually i was a little confused that u wud find me poking my nose everywhere. keep posting ;)

  4. @ Dew Drops
    Don't worry, this is the idea! say what you want to say! Please! Cheers

  5. I have nothing against transgendre oporation. In fact I believe people should get to do what they like about themselves in the single chance they get to live.

  6. hi i am a crossdresser but afraid of society.can ihave more pic on my e-mail hotjass123@hotmail.com

  7. Hey that is way cool! Thanks for the insight
    Sean Cody

  8. The programme is in Urdu, not hindi!

  9. hi i'm nikita crossdresser from india . i would like to say that this is a good thing that transsexuals are getting accepted in society and please try to understand our desires we are also human being not aliens we have good will matured mentality and we also want to do the best and give the society best it must not opposed its good in fact every boy has a femminity of his mother . thats so natural do not hate someone its so natural .


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