Director Vignesh ShivN and actor Nayanthara have for long been rumoured to be in a relationship. On Monday, Vignesh, who is currently in New York, tweeted a few pics of him with Nayanthara.
The Thaana Serndha Kootam director said that he'd never dreamt of having a birthday like this and that he thanked God and "my dear sunshine" (Nayanthara) for making his life beautiful and bright.
While many people congratulated the couple, quite a few on social media have since been making memes and discussing Nayanthara's love life in distasteful terms. Comments like Vignesh ShivN was 'tasting' other people's 'leftovers' and that he had to make do with a woman who has been in other relationships have been flying thick.
Admittedly, all celebrities on social media are subjected to a fair amount of trolling every time they put up a tweet or a post. However, the comments targeting Nayanthara are not just abusive but are extremely misogynistic and tie in with ideas of chastity that are considered exclusive to women.
Referring to the highest paid woman star in Kollywood as "leftovers" only because she has been in relationships like any other adult previously shows that the mentality among many young men remains unchanged from earlier generations. It's as if the men she has dated have some kind of ownership of her, although their relationship has ended and both parties have moved on.
Even though Tamil cinema has progressed to the point when we're seeing more and more films where the hero and heroine have had previous relationships, dialogues like "Aduthavan autovukku ayutha puja panradhu thappu bro" (it's wrong to do ayutha puja for someone else's auto - the woman in question) are part of popular comedy tracks. They are also used in common parlance. Not even powerful celebrities like Nayanthara can escape being treated like property, it would seem.
Previously, actor Amala Paul who divorced her husband director, Vijay, has also been subjected to online abuse for not "looking like a divorced woman" and acting with other male stars in "glamorous roles".
Nayanthara has made it to the top after years of surviving in a male dominant field. Her relationships with men from the film industry and her public break-ups with them have not stopped her rise. Perhaps wisely, she has chosen to stay away from social media where she does not have to deal with the abuse of random men who are insignificant in her journey. Signing not just the big banner films but also ones that are centered around her character, the Lady Superstar has clearly moved on from her past. It's not going to happen but we'll make a request anyway — dear trolls, get a life and move on, too.