While film personalities indulging in misogyny and slut-shaming on stage is nothing new, calling out those who do so on the very same stage, is something we’ve probably never seen before. Setting the precedent is director Pa Ranjith who called out producer K Rajan’s misogyny and open threats to singer Chinmayi soon after the producer aired his repellent views.
Speaking at an audio launch a few days ago, producer K Rajan had threatened to "destroy" Chinmayi for accusing lyricist Vairamuthu of sexual harassment. “I have some people with me who can destroy you,” he had said. He had also claimed that Chinmayi’s intention was to seek "publicity".
Director Pa Ranjith, who came up on stage soon after, condemned Rajan’s attitude in turning the tables against a woman who has raised a complaint.
“We should not look at this as only the accusations of women. Cinema is an industry that has been sexually abusing women for ages. We cannot deny this and it is time we accept this openly. When women like Sri Reddy or others raise a complaint, instead of taking it just as an accusation, we will have to investigate it further. Only then it will move to the next stage. A woman cannot be made a victim or the offender just because she raises a complaint. It is very wrong and I condemn it,” he said.
Director Ranjith has always been open about his support for the #MeToo movement. “I look at the #MeToo movement as a very important one. It's not about where one should talk - one should have the right to speak about the violence one has experienced anywhere. There's also space to prove whether an allegation is true or not,” he has said in an interview to The News Minute.
When Radha Ravi slut-shamed actor Nayanthara on stage a few weeks ago, his justification for not feeling sorry about the whole episode was that the audience that day had enjoyed his speech. “They laughed along and enjoyed my speech. I don’t think there was any mistake in me saying such things on stage. If they didn’t like it, they would’ve objected there itself,” he had said to the media later.
Director Pa Ranjith choosing to shut down someone from the film industry who made such irresponsible comments on the same stage is therefore refreshing and welcome.
Last October, singer Chinmayi was among the women who had come out strongly in support of the #MeToo movement. She has since said that she's been denied work in the Tamil film industry. However, no action has been taken on this front so far.