Whose fault was it? War breaks out over Malayalam actor Prayaga slapping make-up artist

Controversy on a film set: Was this slap a response to misogyny or a classist tantrum?
Whose fault was it? War breaks out over Malayalam actor Prayaga slapping make-up artist
Whose fault was it? War breaks out over Malayalam actor Prayaga slapping make-up artist
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The Malayalam film industry appears to be in the midst of a storm, over the alleged “misconduct” of a female actor towards her make-up artist on set. However, Prayaga Martin, who is in the centre of the storm, has defended herself saying she was, in fact, harassed by the make-up artist.

Prayaga Martin has played significant roles in films such as Kattapanayile Hrithik RoshanOre Mukham and Oru Murai Vanthu Parthaya, among others. 

Prayaga, who is currently shooting for PT Kunju Muhammad's film Vishwasapoorvam Mansoor in Kerala’s Thalassery, has been accused of behaving rudely to her make-up artist Rahim. She even allegedly slapped Rahim in a fit of rage.

How the controversy broke out  

It was the film’s art director Girish Menon, who fuelled the controversy after he wrote about the incident on his Facebook page. Shared extensively by social media users, the actor was then forced to issue a clarification.  

In an interview given to Times of India- and later to a number of media outlets- Prayaga maintained that she had been wronged.

“The shooting was scheduled for early morning that day. I reached the location at 4:30 am. That particular day, the director told me to make my face a little dull. I did not have any shades to do the job. So PT sir suggested that we go to the makeup man on the set. I allowed him to do that. To everyone’s surprise, the makeup man started to taunt me as I sat in front of him. He made several disparaging remarks in public. The shooting was supposed to take place on a public road. But he still insulted me," Prayaga told ManoramaOnline.

Prayaga said that although she had decided to not immediately react when the make-up artist misbehaved with her, she later went back with her mother, who asked Rahim to explain his behaviour. 

"‘You are just a woman, how dare you point your finger at me,' he said while sizing me up from head to toe. He then went on to twist my right arm," she said while speaking to TOI.

Prayaga explains that she did not file a complaint against the make-up artist for his misbehaviour because the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) and the film's director assured her that the matter would be sorted out internally. 

However, what followed took Prayaga by surprise. She said that some of the make-up artist's friends took to social media to target her, fearing that she would proceed to move legally against the make-up artist. 

Prayaga says she will file two complaints- one against the make-up artist and another against the user who posted the false information about the incident on social media. 

Meanwhile, local media publication Marunadan Malayali quoted an unnamed source as saying that Prayaga was the one at fault. Although the article states that the make-up artist was indeed misogynistic towards Prayaga, the author appears to have chosen to downplay this. 

The article further accused the actor of disrespectful behaviour towards the director. 

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