Director Mysskin's rape joke at the audio launch of Peranbu in Chennai on Sunday, comes as a new low, even as film industries across the world are speaking up about gender-based violence.
Mysskin, who is revered for his maverick style of filmmaking and penchant for handling dark subjects, was complimenting actor Mammootty for his performance in the film. Directed by Ram, Peranbu is about a father-daughter relationship and the official teaser which was launched on Sunday has been applauded by fans and critics alike.
Speaking about the film and the trailer at the audio launch, Mysskin went into raptures about Mammootty's performance. Applauding him for his acting, Mysskin suggested that if someone from the Tamil industry had attempted to perform the role, they would have spoilt it by over-acting.
Commending director Ram for choosing Mammootty, Mysskin goes on to say, "You can keep watching Mammootty sir throughout this film. If he had been younger and he had been a woman, I might have fallen in love with him. Had I been a girl, I'd have raped him actually. Such a fabulous acting."
Shockingly, the audience can be heard laughing and applauding Mysskin's disgusting comments. One may argue that Mysskin wasn't going to literally "rape" Mammootty, but what does it say about his mindset that he believes it to be a form of extreme "love"? He delivers the line casually, as if the idea of raping someone should be treated as a compliment.
Later, after he talks some more about Mammootty's performance in comparison to how Tamil actors would have done the role, Mysskin says that he wishes to say something "controversial" so that the film becomes a hit. Even if his rape "joke" was one such attempt, it's inexcusable and in extremely poor taste.
While rape jokes have always been part of popular culture, it's disheartening that a director who is lauded as a visionary in Tamil cinema, has learnt so little from all the conversations happening about sexual violence in film industries today. In fact, the Malayalam industry to which Mammootty belongs is currently going through an upheaval because of the sexual assault on a prominent woman actor in February last year.
Watch from 3.30 minutes.
Thankfully, not everyone's amused by Mysskin's insensitive comments.
That rape comment at the end, and the ensuing applause. Sigh.â€” Sudhir Srinivasan (@sudhirsrinivasn) July 16, 2018
Quite an abhorrent way to express admiration. https://t.co/uw4TGYxT2t
Is this even a worthy manner of appreciating Mammootty? What is so funny in #mysskin saying he wouldâ€™ve raped #Mammootty had he been a girl? Role reversal?? Its not a compliment to either the mega star or any woman. Also - One can praise an actor without having to decry another. https://t.co/ov2mMMI1s0â€” SujathaNarayanan (@N_sujatha08) July 16, 2018
@Director_Ram cheap speech from Mysskin..â€” AnithaLives (@AnithaRip) July 15, 2018