From child labourer to Oscar hopeful, the extraordinary life of PS Vinothraj

As a boy, the Tamil director saw movies made in the market where he worked. Now he’s India’s choice for awards glory

As a child labourer working in the flower markets of Madurai, there was nothing more exciting for PS Vinothraj than when the film crews would descend. He would put down his sacks of petals and look up in awe at the camera operators who sat atop cranes to get dramatic sweeping shots. It was, to his nine-year-old mind, intoxicating. “I knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life,” he said. “My passion for cinema was born in that flower market.”

The odds were stacked heavily against him. Vinothraj was born into a poverty-stricken family of daily wage labourers in Tamil Nadu. He left school, aged nine, to support his family after his father died and by 14 was working in the sweatshops of Tiruppur.

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Football’s first fa’afafine: trans rights trailblazer Jaiyah Saelua on stardom and sisterhood

Fa’afafine athlete and advocate Jaiyah Saelua, and Kaimana, the fa’afafine actor who will play her in Taika Waititi’s latest film, find shared celebration in a uniquely Polynesian story

Jaiyah Saelua is a footballer first.

The first openly transgender woman and fa’afafine to compete in a Fifa World Cup qualifying match for men, she has become a global champion for the rights of transgender and fa’afafine athletes, and now - almost disbelievingly - finds her life portrayed in an upcoming Hollywood film, directed by Oscar winner Taika Waititi, to be released later this year.

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