Malayalam actor Parvathy's comments on the Mammootty film Kasaba have achieved one thing - drawn out the misogynists from the woods. From random members of the public writing lengthy posts justifying the vulgarity and obvious misogyny of the film to people from the Malayalam film industry throwing insults at Parvathy, the last few days have succeeded in showing a mirror to Kerala society when it comes to gender equality.
The latest to join the brigade is director Jude Anthany Joseph. Taking to Facebook, Jude wrote:
"A monkey managed to get into the circus and obeyed whatever the master said. It ran, it jumped, did as it was told to do. Finally, the monkey became famous and suddenly, starts speaking against circus and all the masters. Laments that the masters exploited it. This monkey could have very well abandoned the circus and gone back to the jungle. But then, who will know the monkey then?"
Although Jude refrained from taking any names, it was evident that the subject of his post was actor Parvathy.
Parvathy has been facing a stream of abuse ever since she made her comments at the IFFK on a panel discussing how women are represented on screen, with most of the abuse coming from Mammootty fans.
Considering this, Jude may have assumed his views would be popular. However, many on social media slammed the director for his insensitive post and accused him of trying to garner publicity.
"You mean the so-called monkey should have left silently before being exploited. Or that the monkeys are pleading for the masters to come and exploit them!" a user wrote.
"Jude, I know of another monkey who happened to make two films for its sake. And now he is going around trying to please big names in the industry hoping to stay in the industry," said another.
Ironically, Jude had, a few months ago, directed a short film titled No Go Tell on child sexual abuse and several users questioned how a filmmaker who made such a film could exhibit such insensitivity.
"Aren't you the same person who make No Go Tell?"
"Please don't come this way making motivational short films. You mean to say we must keep quiet about the exploitation we face?," a woman user lashed out.
"We had no much expectation from you anyway. But this is too much. Ashamed that you were born in Kerala and that he calls himself an artist."
Another user said: "Here's Jude who is spreading the message that the boss will exploit and that he will support the boss in the process for his own sake. And when someone calls out the exploitation, Jude will be there to abuse and shut them up."
Journalist Aysha Mahmood too slammed Jude for his post. In her post in Malayalam, Aysha said:
"The monkey runs and jumps, following the master's instructions. This is the pillar of the circus. The master is upset that he cannot contain the lion that shook the pillar and called her a monkey. While it has given the master satisfaction, it is only a hair for the lion!"
Jude, on his part, went on justifying his cringe-worthy post. In one of his replies, he says, "Brother, the video I made sent out the message that we shouldn't be victims of abuse. I hold in contempt people who willingly take the abuse and then reveal it after they gain popularity!"
According to Jude, victims of abuse are in a position to dictate the terms of the abuse and it's their own fault for not putting an end to it. If this "logic" leaves your head spinning, you are in good company.
Meanwhile, Parvathy has not backed down from her stance despite the vitriol around her.
The actor has held her head high and is standing up to the bullies. Soon after Jude's post, she tweeted "OMKV", which in Malayalam stands for "Odada mayire/malare/makane kandam vazhi". Meaning "Get lost" or "Run away".
Although Parvathy did not mention Jude, she did address it to the "circus masters", leaving us in no doubt about whom she meant.