Tamil audience want their money’s worth, actresses clad in skimpy clothes for glamour value. No, we didn’t say that. This ‘exemplary’ comment came from Suraj, the director of the recently released Tamil action-comedy film “Kaththi Sandai” starring Vishal and Tamannaah.
At a promotional event for his movie, Suraj was asked about Tamannaah’s role in the movie and whether he gave special focus to a heroine’s role and costumes. And this was his response:
“We are a low-class audience. People give money to watch a hero fight, and a glamorous heroine. I don’t believe in a heroine clad in a saree. People are paying money, right? They are not watching a movie for free. They are paying money to watch Tamannah in a glamorous role. If they want to act, they can do that separately. But in commercial movies they have to sizzle and be glamorous.”
There’s more. Suraj goes on to reveal that he insists his costume designers to shorten the length of any costume that covers his heroines' knees.
“If the costume designer comes to me with the heroine’s clothes covering up to the knee, I tell them to shorten the length. They would repeatedly say that ‘madam would be upset’, but I insist and get it done,” Suraj tells the interviewers with a self-assured smirk which stays on for the remainder of the offensive interview.
This is surely not the first time that a filmmaker has made such sick and misogynistic comments, but in an industry, that follows an Omerta code, heroines hardly speak out. Tamannaah broke that code, releasing a statement on Monday condemning Suraj.
“This is 2016 and it is very ironic that I had to leave (watching) a film like Dangal in the middle which is on woman empowerment to tackle this issue. I am very hurt and angered by the comments made by my director Suraaj and I would definitely want him to apologise, not only to me, but to all women in the industry. We are actors, we are here to act and entertain the audience and should not at any point be objectified as commodities. I have been working in the South industry for over 11 years and have worn costumes which I have been comfortable with. It is sad that women in our country are spoken about so frivolously and I would like to tell my audiences that our industry should not be generalized by comments made by one such individual,” she said.
It was ‘female superstar’ Nayanthara, who first slammed Suraj, like a boss.
Nayanthara came down hard on the director saying actresses were not strippers who shed clothes for money.
Speaking to Sify, Nayanthara questioned if Suraj would dare speak about the working women in his family in the same degrading manner he spoke about heroines.
“A heroine wears skimpy clothes in commercial cinema only if she is comfortable and the script requires it. And which audience is he speaking about who pay money to see heroines in bad light? Our audiences who look up to film stars are far more mature and respects women more than Suraj does,” she argued.
She emphasized that while she had also done her share of glamourous roles for commercial films but out of choice. “No one has the right to think that heroines can be taken for granted,” she said.
After the backlash, Suraj apologised to Tamannaah and other heroines saying that he did not mean to portray anyone in bad light or hurt their sentiments.