At the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), actor Parvathy, known for her outspoken nature, said that she'd been disappointed by a superstar's film in recent times that had several misogynistic dialogues.
The actor was speaking as part of a panel discussion on how women have been represented in cinema thus far. Others from the Malayalam film industry like Rima Kallingal, Geethu Mohandas, Vidhu Vincent, Fouzia Fathima, Deedi Damodaran and Mahim Mirza were also present.
The film Parvathy was referring to was Mammootty's Kasaba, in which the actor plays a policeman and threatens to hurt a woman so badly that he can "make her miss her menstrual cycle".
"Kasaba is a movie that I watched. I was disappointed to watch an actor par excellence mouth dialogues to a woman that were not just derogatory, but saddening. Cinema reflects society, many say. But the line to draw is whether to glorify a hero like this or not," she said.
After Parvathy made her comments, several people trolled her social media pages, abusing the actor for speaking against a Mammootty film.
Accusing her of trying to be "intellectual", they've said she should be ashamed of herself for daring to speak against a senior actor like Mammootty.
Parvathy, however, is having none of it. On her newly opened Twitter page, she said that cinema wasn't just cinema and that while it should reflect the bad things in society too, it cannot glorify these.
Taking on questions and comments from people, Parvathy wrote, "Cinema can reflect all aspects of the society and all kinds of people. The good, the bad and the ugly. But no! It cannot glorify injustice and violence as â€˜coolâ€™ and â€˜massâ€™ entertainment."
The actor pointed out that this wasn't about "curbing cinematic creativity" but about "reassessing how negatives can be imitated in society." She noted that she wasn't asking actors to do only certain roles. "Yes by all means let's do bad negative roles. But let's not glorify the negativity! When the audience applaud, get influenced by it, society is at risk," she said.
Parvathy further asserted that she would never do a role that glorifies misogyny.
Yes it should reflect all the bad things too but it cannot and should not be GLORIFIED. That is where you draw the line.â€” Parvathy T K (@parvatweets) December 12, 2017
I would never do a role that glorifies misogyny.â€” Parvathy T K (@parvatweets) December 12, 2017
Thasneem, I'm replying to you because you speak to me decently. Make note that I'm not asking actors to only do certain roles. Yes by all means let's do bad negative roles. But let's not glorify the negativity! When the audience applaud, get influenced by it, society is at risk.â€” Parvathy T K (@parvatweets) December 12, 2017
I disagree. Pen is mightier than the sword- this is said for a reason. And cinema at this point is extremely influential. It's everywhere and especially when audience end up worshiping characters and thereby the stars the pen has to be more careful.â€” Parvathy T K (@parvatweets) December 12, 2017
This isn't about curbing cinematic creativity. This is only about reassessing how negatives can be imitated in society. And therefore give it a better structure so we avoid glorification of violence and disrespect.â€” Parvathy T K (@parvatweets) December 12, 2017
Cinema can reflect all aspects of the society and all kinds of people. The good, the bad and the ugly. But no! It cannot glorify injustice and violence as "cool" & "mass" entertainment. I rest my case. This was a good day indeed! Thank you for sharing (and hurling) your thoughts!â€” Parvathy T K (@parvatweets) December 12, 2017
I never criticised him. Simply expressed my disappointment in the movie. Thanks for being respectful in the way you put across the comment here. Very rare it seems here.â€” Parvathy T K (@parvatweets) December 12, 2017
Both Mohanlal and Mammootty, the two senior superstars of the Malayalam film industry, have a large fanbase that indulges in vicious trolling if anyone says anything that could be construed as "offensive" against the stars.
Actor Anna Rajan, who recently said in a light vein that she'd like to act as Dulquer's heroine while Mammootty could act as his father, was abused severely by trolls and she took to Facebook Live to issue a tearful apology.
The Women in Cinema Collective, which was established after the horrific assault of a prominent woman actor earlier this year, is interested in not only creating a more equal work space but also examining how women are represented in cinema. While misogyny in films has been analysed and critiqued by several people outside the industry, we haven't had many insider voices speak about the issue until now.
Parvathy's clear articulation of just why such depictions are derogatory and problematic is a step forward in making that important acknowledgment. The mostly male crowd dismissing her views as "arrogance" typify the very misogyny that the actor is speaking about.
Vanamala vannallo!!! #trollsâ€” Parvathy T K (@parvatweets) December 12, 2017
Welcome welcome- please kindly take my words out of context, remind me that I'm "just a actress" and curse at me. Here's to your sensitive chauvinistic blind hearts! Yours- that annoying feminist. pic.twitter.com/HSUMjHXIKg