Indian Drag-icon Sushant Divgikar aka Rani Ko-HE-Nur

Sushant Divgikar

When we talk about international singing competitions, we all know Indian Idol, The Voice, The X Factor, and Eurovision. There are very few Indians who are aware of the global singing competition for drag queens called ‘Queen of the Universe ‘. Representing India on the singing show this season was Sushant Divgikr, also known by their drag name “Rani Ko-He-Nur.” Their performances and singing caught the attention of the viewers, and they made it to the semi-finals of ‘Queen of the Universe.” They were possibly the first and only Asian drag artists to be a part of the competition. With competition from scenes of drag queens from all over the world, including the USA, UK, France, Mexico, Brazil, and Australia, they were unfortunately eliminated in the semi-final round.

Born to Goan Konkani parents, they are a Mumbaikar born and raised in Bandra West. Apart from being drag queen, they are also an actor, model, singer, dancer, motivational speaker, writer, and psychologist. They won Mr. Gay India in 2014 and were also a contestant in Big Boss’s season 8. Sushant was one of the first participants from the LGBTQ community to reach the top 15 of the Sa Re Ga Ma Pa in 2018. In the same year, they were also listed among GQ’s 50 Most Influential Young Indians. They have appeared in films such as Evening Shadows (2018), Love, Life, and Screw Ups!!! (2016), and others.In 2020, Sushant was featured among 300 young leaders in the Asia-Pacific region of the Forbes 30 Under 30 List.

Currently working on their singing career, they made their independent music debut with their first single, “Diamond”. This song is about “hope and courage.” It is about slut shaming, constant body shaming, fat shaming, and transgender shaming that have a negative impact on one’s mental health. Talking about their career and career struggles, they said, “I have been the most booked live artist because I sing in 15 Indian languages in all genres, be it jazz, ballads, semi-classical, pop, and Broadway. People enjoy it and I sing in two voices, it’s a vocal range which two-three people in this country have, ” says Sushant. They also said that “Men can walk into any institution and just by the function of being a man, you will be considered higher than any other gender. People happen to be transgender (individuals), but they are artistes first, which is completely disregarded.”

As a social media influencer, they have always been vocal about issues impacting the LGBTQIA+ community. They identify as gender fluid and their pronouns are: he, she, and they. Their coming out story to their conservative family is a real tearjerker. They say “I was never judged at home” and “I am blessed and highly favoured to be born into a family like mine”. They add, “For a very long time, I didn’t know I was nonbinary, gender fluid.” So, it took me 30 years to understand that I’m trans person. “

In 2021, when Hyderabad launched its first two transgender clinics, Sushant Divgikr was at the inauguration of the second transgender clinic in Hyderabad. They have been part of corporate houses and non-profits while discussing equality and equity, and they have been a huge part of inclusion and diversity campaigns. They use art to break barriers, and by embracing their masculine and feminine sides, they have inspired people from all over the world.