This October marks a year since the #MeToo movement shook the deep bowels of the south Indian film industries, with several women levelling allegations of sexual harassment against their colleagues.
While some allies came out in support of the women, they were also subjected to abuse and ostracism from their respective industries and social media. Some of them have also had defamation cases slapped on them. Meanwhile, the accused men remain largely unscathed, going on about their daily lives and signing new projects.
One of the criticisms made against #MeToo was that women can “get away” without proving the allegations while the men have to “suffer” the consequences. The contrasting responses show that these fears are quite unfounded.
Here’s a look at the new projects signed by men from the film industries who were named in #MeToo.
Note: The list only includes those who were accused by women who put their names to the allegations, not anonymous ones. Men who were accused anonymously have only been included if they acknowledged the incident themselves.
Dileep (Malayalam actor)
Months before #MeToo broke out in the entertainment and media fields in India, a prominent woman actor in Kerala was abducted and sexually assaulted in a moving car. Popular actor Dileep was accused of being the mastermind behind the attack. He was arrested, charge-sheeted and is currently out on bail.
New projects: At the time of his arrest, Dileep had been working on Ramaleela and Kammara Sambhavam. After that, Dileep has signed B Unnikrishnan’s Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel, KP Vyasan’s Subharathri, veteran cinematographer Ramachandra Babu’s Professor Dinkan and SL Puram Jayasurya’s Jack Daniel, which also stars another #MeToo accused Arjun Sarja.
Vairamuthu (Tamil lyricist/poet)
Singer Chinmayi accused lyricist Vairamuthu of sexual harassment soon after anonymous allegations began surfacing about him on Twitter. Almost a week later, US-based artiste Sindhuja Rajaram too named Vairamuthu, sharing details her experience with him when she tried joining his hostel. Vairamuthu denied the allegations.
Year 2005/2006 maybe.— Chinmayi Sripaada (@Chinmayi) October 9, 2018
Veezhamattom. An album for Srilankan Tamizhs that I had sung in, as had Manikka Vinayagam sir.
I dont remember if it was a book or an album release or both now; the performances and launch happened in Switzerland in (Bern / Zurich maybe)
New projects: Vairamuthu has since participated in public events, given interviews to news channels, delivered speeches in which he has spoken about his upcoming book and continues to take up film projects. While the song he wrote for Bala’s Adithya Varmaa did not make it to the big screens (the film was shelved), the lyricist has signed a new deal with Mani Ratnam and will be penning all the songs for his ambitious Ponniyin Selvan. The film’s music will be composed by AR Rahman. The star cast includes big names like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Nayanthara, Vijay Sethupathi and others.
Radha Ravi (Actor)
Chinmayi also retweeted the screenshot of an allegation against actor Radha Ravi, a popular actor. Even as she did so, she said that she saw her dubbing career go up in smoke. Following this, she was axed from the dubbing union, which is headed by Radha Ravi. Radha Ravi later slut-shamed actor Nayanthara at a film promotion event. He faced strong criticism from all quarters and was ousted from the DMK a few days after his speech. Radha Ravi refused to apologise and later joined the AIADMK.
New projects: Radha Ravi has since appeared in Sivakarthikeyan’s production Nenjamundu Nermaiyundu Odu Raja directed by Karthik Venugopalan, starring Rio Raj. The film was announced early this year. Radha Ravi was also seen in Yogi Babu’s Dharmaprabhu, announced in November 2018 and directed by Muthukumaran. In Bodhai Yeri Budhi Maari (filming began in February this year) by director Chandru KR, he played the hero’s father.
He was also part of Vaibhav’s Sixer, directed by Chachi, and reprised his role in the Telugu remake of the Tamil film Ratsasan, the filming for which began in February this year. Rakshasudu was directed by Ramesh Varma.
Arjun Sarja (Actor)
Arjun Sarja was accused of sexual harassment on the sets of Nibunan (released in Kannada as Vismaya) by actor Sruthi Hariharan. Arjun was quick to deny the allegations and filed a defamation suit of Rs 5 crore against Sruthi.
New projects: Arjun is part of the mammoth production Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham, directed by Priyadarshan, which also stars Mohanlal, Manju Warrier, Keerthy Suresh, Kalyani Priyadarshini, Pranav Mohanlal and a host of other actors. He is also starring in another Malayalam film Jack Daniel. He’s playing an important role in the Telugu film Jana Gana Mana, starring Jayam Ravi and Taapsee Pannu, apart from playing the antagonist in PS Mithran’s Hero, also starring Sivakarthikeyan and Kalyani Priyadarshan.
Raghu Dixit (Composer)
Raghu Dixit, who has composed and sung in Hindi, Kannada and Malayalam films, was accused of sexually harassing a woman who’d came to record a song with him. The allegation was made anonymously but Raghu admitted it to be true and apologised to the woman. However, he claimed that he had “misread” the situation and that he was no sexual harasser.
New projects: After the allegation came out, he composed a song for the Hindi movie Gully Boy and also for the Kannada film Ninna Sanihake.
John Vijay (Tamil actor)
VJ and playback singer Sriranjani TS accused actor John Vijay of sexual misconduct in October last year. She called him a “compulsive pervert”. Later, Sriranjani said that John’s wife had apologised on his behalf and that he’d followed suit.
Shortly after my #MeToo tweet, John Vijay's wife reached out to me to hear about it firsthand. She also messaged apologizing on his behalf. I truly appreciate the way she conducted herself (i.e. not blind siding) Now he has too. @NOTamitbhargav@Chinmayihttps://t.co/GPYGvtaLha— Sriranjani T S (@Sri_TS) October 17, 2018
New projects: John Vijay signed Sivakarthikeyan-Nayanthara’s Mr Local that began production in February 2019. This film was directed by Rajesh and produced by KR Gnanavel Raja. He was also seen in Zombie that went into production in December 2018. Starring Yogi Babu, the film was directed by Bhuvan Nullan and produced by S3 Pictures. John Vijay is part of Pa Ranjith’s upcoming production Irandam Ulaga Porin Kadaisi Gundu directed by Athiyan Athirai. He also has Vijay Sethupathi’s Sanga Tamizhan, directed by Vijay Chander and produced by Vijaya Productions. He will next be seen in Kadhal Modhal 50/50, an upcoming Tamil horror-comedy directed by Krishna Sai.
Mukesh (Malayalam actor)
Kolkata-based casting director Tess Joseph, who’d worked on the television programme Kodeeshwaran in 1999, alleged that actor Mukesh, the host of the show, had harassed her. Mukesh denied the allegation.
New projects: Mukesh, also an MLA, has since acted in the Mammootty starrer Ganagandharvan. He has been signed for the movies Under World directed by Arun Kumar Aravind and Marakkar: Arabikkadalinte Simham by Priyadarshan.
Susi Ganesan (Tamil director)
When filmmaker/writer Leena Manimekalai accused director Susi Ganesan of sexual misconduct, actor Amala Paul came out in support and said that he’d behaved inappropriately with her during the shoot of Thiruttu Payale 2. Susi denied Leena’s allegation and filed a defamation suit against her.
New projects: The director is yet to make any announcements about his upcoming films.
Thiagarajan (Tamil director/actor)
Director and actor Thiagarajan was accused of sexual misconduct on the sets of Ponnar Shankar (2011) by photographer Pretika Menon. Thiagarajan denied the allegations and threatened to file a defamation case against her.
New projects: Thiagarajan recently announced that he was buying the Tamil remake rights of Bollywood blockbuster Andhadhun. The film will be made with his son Prashant in the lead and directed by Gautham Menon.
Ravi Srivatsa (Kannada director)
Actor Sanjjana Galrani accused director Ravi Srivatsa of coercing her into enacting intimate scenes while shooting for the film Ganda Hendathi. Ravi Srivatsa complained to the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) and the Kannada Film Directors Association that Sanjjana had tarnished his image with false allegations. Following this, Sanjjana was forced to apologise to the director at late actor Ambareesh’s home. “All that I have spoken in the Me Too allegation is true but to get rid of the headache and the ruckus this has created, I have apologised," Sanjjanaa told TNM.
New projects: Ravi Srivasta has not announced any new projects yet.
TM Karthik (Tamil actor)
Three anonymous allegations were made against theatre and cinema actor TM Karthik. He acknowledged the allegations and issued a public apology on Twitter. “I now understand that I may have crossed the line with my overtures in some instances,” he said.
New projects: The actor was seen playing a brief role in Amala Paul’s Aadai that was announced in September 2018 and went into production in November that year. He was also seen in Zombie that went into production in December 2018. While the sequel to Indru Netru Naalai was announced in June this year, it remains to be seen if he’ll continue with his role from the first film.
Alencier Ley Lopez (Malayalam actor)
Actor Divya Gopinath accused fellow actor Alencier of misbehaving with her on several occasions. Alencier apologised to the actor in an interview to the Kochi Times of India, and Divya later accepted his apology and said that she was glad to end it this way.
New projects: Alencier was seen in a couple of movies after that last year, but they were possibly shot before the allegations. In 2019, Alencier played a prominent role in Sathyam Paranja Viswasikkuvo, directed by G Prajith. He was also seen in Lonappante Mamodeesa, directed by Leo Thaddeus.
Actor Sri Reddy of the Telugu film industry made several allegations of harassment and coercion by men from the industry. However, she also maligned women from the industry and indulged in character assassination. Director Ram Gopal Varma admitted to have instigated her to abuse actor-politician Pawan Kalyan to gain attention and Sri Reddy apologised for the same. Due to the inconsistencies, TNM has not included the names of the men she accused.
(with inputs from Cris and Priyanka Richi)