Tamil film industry non-committal over Chinmayi Sripada's sexual harassment claims against Vairamuthu
In Bollywood, popular production houses are sacking directors and actors after sexual harassment charges popped up against them on the social media. In Tamil cinema, it was renowned singer and voice artist Chinmayi Sripada who brought up the issue by revealing her personal bitter experience with National Award-winning lyricist Vairamuthu, who allegedly tried to use his influence and pressurise her in many ways.
Though actors like Siddharth, Prakash Raj, Samantha and Kajal among others have extended their support to Chinmayi, industry veterans actually feel that Vairamuthu has been victimised in this issue.
Recently, ace filmmaker Bharathiraja met the media in Jaffna in Sri Lanka where he was asked to comment on the sexual harassment allegations against his good friend Vairamuthu. Known for his detailed answers and crystal clear speech, Bharathiraja lost his temper and shouted at the local media,. He said, “I can’t answer for speculations. If there is a proof, let me know. We can talk,” and abruptly ended the media meet.
Interacting with Tamil news channel Puthiya Thalaimurai, leading Tamil Superstar Vijay’s dad and yesteryear filmmaker SA Chandrasekhar said, “I’m confused because we all know about the achievements of Vairamuthu and his stature in the industry. As a director, I have called my actors and actresses to my room for discussions. Similarly, Vairamuthu would have just called her to the room and I don’t know, how Chinmayi took it in a wrong sense. I feel that in the name of feminism and women empowerment, we are moving in a wrong direction”.
Director-turned-politician Seeman says Vairamuthu has been victimised in the Me Too movement. “BJP remained silent in various such sexual abuses and harassment charges but they were the first one to comment after Chinmayi posted about Vairamuthu. She should have opened about the incident at the time when it happened to her, revealing a decade old matter now clearly tells that Vairamuthu is being targeted”.
Kamal Haasan, who is vocal about everything in the country, refused to comment about Vairamuth,u with whom he had worked in many films. “Only people who are involved in the issue should comment and answer to the allegations," said Kamal, who also added that the movement should not be diluted with false accusations.
Radha Ravi, who was accused by a TV personality, attended a film event and said, “I’m not bothered about this #MeToo movement because people will forget all these things in 10 days. Reports on my dad shot MGR actually died in four days so this news will also perish in some time. This trend will affect the image of film fraternities among people. Even if that is the case, people only consider me as a villain, so these things won’t affect me much." He added that these complaints will lead to the downfall of the career of those who accuse others in the film industry.
Tamil Film Producers Council’s President Vishal, who is also the General Secretary of Nadigar Sangam (Actors Association), said that women in the film industry should open about sexual harassment immediately. “We can’t act without any proof. When actress Amala Paul called me and Karthi when a predator tried to harass her, we guided her through proper procedure and put the guy behind bars. I respect Chinmayi and all other women who are voicing out in this issue, but I request them to report any such incidents immediately and not after a few years”, said Vishal who will be soon forming a committee to deal with the grievances of women in the industry.
When asked whether the industry will refuse to cooperate with Vairamuthu, Vishal said, "We can take a final call on it only when the allegations are proved".
In his recent video, Vairamuthu said that he has consulted with legal experts and got enough evidence to prove that all the accusations against him are false. But Chinmayi dared him to take the lie detector test to prove his innocence.
Meanwhile, Siddharth's father got a threatening call from director Susi Ganesan after the actor supported independent filmmaker Leena Manimekalai, who alleged that the Thiruttu Payale director harassed her on a moving car. But Siddharth says he will continue to support Leena.
"#SusiGanesan spoke to my aged father on the phone and threatened us with dire consequences if I continue to stand by Leena. So I just want everyone to know that now more than ever... I Stand With #LeenaManimekalai. Stay strong and fight the good fight sister! #MeToo", tweeted Siddharth.
Updated Date: Oct 20, 2018 11:50 AM