“Here we were, peacefully going about our business and now you have forced us to rethink what we write.”

Why some men dont like Parvathy Bobby-Sanjays powerful letter on Kasaba row
Voices Opinion Sunday, December 24, 2017 - 11:38

How much outrage. How much trolling. How much back and forth over a simple statement made by a woman on a movie scene that was offensive. The controversy around actor Parvathy, after her statement on Mammooty’s film 'Kasaba', continues to rage on social media platforms. While many reactions criticising the actor surfaced from within the industry and outside, it was rather amusing to watch how the stars themselves are comfortable in their silences.

But among the voices that you cannot miss are Bobby-Sanjay, the popular screenwriter duo from Kerala, who have written a powerful letter on why some men don’t like Parvathy.

Read this self reflective and sarcastic letter here:

Aadaminte Vaariyellu (Adam’s Rib)

by Bobby-Sanjay

It is not the movie Kasaba or even Parvathy herself who is at issue here. The issue is that a woman spoke up. Don’t get us wrong – we have no problem with women who speak. But just stick to fashion or cooking or what the man of your dreams is like, maybe? When it comes to heftier topics, don’t you think it is more appropriate to shy away from replying with the modest, ‘I really don’t know about all that’? Or at the very least, go ahead and tender an apology! Can’t you see how mightily we, the lions of the masculine world, are roaring?

Not only did you not apologise – you continue to issue replies with the same level of confidence, the same innate strength. No, no Parvathy – this is not what we are used to. When we think of women, there is a certain decorum we expect, certain rules to be followed. Especially in someone your age! Any woman who crosses that line can expect to be viciously attacked.

And that attack happens in a phased manner. The first phase is to question credibility. (Loosely translated, this would be in the form of ‘who the hell do you think you are to…’). If one doesn’t cower at that, we move to the next level which is ridicule. This could take the form of trolls, jokes, inane similes. And if that doesn’t have the necessary deterrent effect, we move to the third and final phase which is to reduce a woman to her sexual organs by means of the vilest abuse, threats and character assassination.

The truth is, all of this stems from our intolerance to women raising their voices in ways that are unfamiliar to us. It is not on our agenda to engage in a discussion or let our disagreement be known in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

If we did, we would not have jumped to the conclusion that you demanded that there should be no character or dialogue denigrating women in any movie, ever. We might have understood that what you meant was to avoid their glorification.

All this would have ended with the simple realisation that the most repulsive, chauvinistic male characters depicted on screen were seen in the greatest women-oriented movie of our times – Adaminte Variyellu – which also forms the title for this piece.

Though it was just one movie that you named, we are aware that your criticism was directed against a lot of movies. Maybe the movies we have written too. Here we were, peacefully going about our business and now you have forced us to rethink what we write; reminded us to reconsider from a woman’s perspective and pushed us into self-analysis and critical soul-searching.

For this reason, Parvathy, we disagree with everything you said. Disagree to the core. Disagree, just.

Footnote: Adaminte Variyellu – "Adam's Rib' – was a path breaking Malayalam movie directed by KG George and released in 1983 which is still the most definitive narrative for women's lives and experiences that ever came out of Kerala

Views expressed are the authors' own.

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