Ridiculous things men in the film industry and outside say: A Tamil woman actor writes

Those of you who think I ought to say #notallindustrymen, please go hide under your bed until you develop enough core strength to carry around your fragile egos.
Ridiculous things men in the film industry and outside say: A Tamil woman actor writes
Ridiculous things men in the film industry and outside say: A Tamil woman actor writes
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This article was written by a woman actor who works in Tamil cinema. She has chosen to be anonymous so that she can express her views frankly, and without any repercussions to her career.

Kannamma is a pseudonym, and she hopes to write more such articles as an insider from the Tamil film industry.

The film industry, like any other company or organisation, has its own unique issues, except we do not have an HR department. There are, of course, producers aplenty breathing down the director’s neck that make up for that lack. In the few years that I’ve been here, and had the opportunity to hang around the sets as an actor or sometimes just a curious cat, I’ve been fascinated by the constant underlying awkwardness and discomfort between genders.

It is quite obvious that the female to male ratio here is quite sparse. Does the work culture also impact the kind of stories that are told through film or vice versa? I do not have enough experience to explore that yet. Instead, I’ll just list a few ridiculous things I’ve heard men say in the industry and elsewhere.

Oh hey there, I hear you grumbling already about how I am biased and that women say ridiculous things, too. I agree. I promise I’ll list that out when I work with a tangible sample space of women. Those of you who think I ought to say #notallindustrymen, please go hide under your bed until you develop enough core strength to carry around your fragile egos.

I also have to say that the following statements are exaggerated for my own entertainment more than my conscience would have liked. But, they are more real than you would like to believe.

1. Silence. Ahem. Hi, excuse me? Mouna viradhamaa? (Are you on an oath of silence?)

This will continue until “Ji/Bro! Oru dum poda polaam vaanga.” (Loosely translates to “Let’s get out of here before she expects us to say something”.)

2. Him: You are the turning point in the script, Madam.

Her: Oh, wow! Can I read my scenes?

Him: Why Madam? Only point. No dialogues. You come, turn and go.

3. Him: Ma! In two days, we go to shoot. I want you to reduce two inches on your thighs and half inch on each arm. But, your face has to be chubby. Understood?

Her: *Faints*

4. [INT: The crew changes the setup at a film location to shoot the next scene. The actors chill next door preserving their energy apparently.]

Hero: What’s that colour?

(Heroine looks around the room, what is referred to as a bake-uu or bulb-uu in the local dialect. She tries to figure out what he was talking about.)

Hero: Your nails. Give me your hand, let me see.

(He grabs her hand before she can give it a thought. She seems to be pretty slow.)

Hero: Such a nice colour, it looks like red from a distance and now it looks pink.

Heroine: It’s pink.

Hero: Oh? Your hands are so soft.

(She wants to badly scratch her nose with that hand but blinks helplessly. She is worried if she does something to upset him, it might affect the romance scene they are yet to shoot. It includes a lot of her beauty shots that better turn out well. She has spent ten grand at the beauty parlour for this one scene. She starts zoning out effortlessly.)

Hero: Hey, hello? So, did I tell you about my new car? We should go out on a ride this Saturday.

[EXT: Heroine stands outside the film set. She prefers the mosquito bites to you-know- who, the guy who flirts like a really annoying housefly.]

5. Her: Sir, script?

Him: Hahaha!

Her: Sir, today’s scene?

Him: Hahaha!

Her: Sir, my salary?

Him: Hahaha!

6. Self-Appointed Mentor: You come across as submissive even though you are annoyingly smart.

Her: Ummm, was that supposed to be a compliment?

SAM: It’s going to work to your advantage. The industry likes submissive women. Just don’t open your mouth.

7. Random stranger at a temple queue: I watched your film. It was okay. Give me your phone number. I will give you a missed call.

8. Angry Young Idealistic Filmmaker: I’m just so angry at these morons.

Her: What? Who?

AYIF: These filmmakers

Her: Aren’t you one? Okay, forget that. But, why?

AYIF: Because they’ll never see you for who you are. They’ll never make the kind of films where they can cast you.

Her: (Drawing from a deep well of hope in a much practiced way.) Don’t say that. I’m sure they will someday soon.

AYIF: You’re too naïve, you wouldn’t understand how this industry works. You don’t have the face they look out for. Fair, pretty, perfect, you know?

Her: Sigh. I don’t think I want to understand. But, hey when are you casting me?

AYIF: Haha!

Her: I’m serious.

AYIF: We should go out for dinner sometime. I’m serious too.

Her: *Bangs her head on the wall *

9. Him: Where are you off to?

Her: The tea shop, with you guys. For the discussion.

Him: Wearing this? No way, we can’t focus. We’ll have to sit and protect you.

Her: *Returns the gift of silence*

10. Him: You are my slave.

11. (This one’s especially dedicated to a few of you reading this, men and women.)

You: No wonder. These cinema people itself are like this. No culture at all.

Me: Veetla solltu vantiya? (Loosely translates to “It must be really difficult to live your life with that heavy blindfold on.")

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