Director Aashiq Abu's Mayaanadhi has been earning rave reviews ever since it released for the Christmas weekend. However, despite the positive response from the audience, the film has come under attack on social media.
The negative comments have snowballed into a hate campaign against the film. The reason? Aashiq Abu is married to actor and Women in Cinema Collective member Rima Kallingal. The abusers have been justifying the hate comments by saying that Aashiq had supported actor Parvathy after she spoke about the misogyny in the Mammootty starrer Kasaba at the International Film Festival of Kerala. Rima had also been on the same panel.
After messages flooded the social media accounts of Aashiq Abu and Rima Kallingal, the film’s lead actor Tovino Thomas has now taken to Facebook to speak against the cyber bullies.
The actor had put up a Facebook post on December 24, 2017 thanking a review which had lauded Mayaanadhi as a ‘matured romantic film which evolves through the script only to become more intense." But the post was soon hijacked by hate comments. One of them read:
“I would love to watch Tovino on screen but when I think of the feminist brigade of the industry I just don’t want to get myself into the theater."
Tovino broke his silence on the negativity around the film and said, “Who are you trying to win against here? Me or the film Mayaanadhi? Or do you want to take down the whole industry? Why are you fighting hundreds of people who are part of this project but have nothing to do with the brewing Kasaba controversy? Even the person for whom you are indulging in such acts wouldn’t be appreciative of an act that would amount to the destruction of a film. Anyway I wish all well and happiness”.
Mammoottty has chosen to remain mum about the abuse in his name that has been heaped against Parvathy and others. Parvathy had been speaking on a panel at the IFFK about the representation of women on screen when she made her remarks. Kasaba has been slammed by critics as well as the State Women's Commission for its misogyny previously.
Ironically, when Dileep's film Ramaleela was due for release, several persons from the industry took the trouble to appeal to the audience to treat the film as a film and not target it because its lead star was accused of a heinous crime. At the time, Dileep had been arrested for being the alleged mastermind behind the Malayalam actor assault case.
The members of the WCC, who came together following the attack, have unfortunately not received the same support or consideration for merely expressing their views about a film.