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Parvathy speaks out against misogyny in films like Kasaba, gets trolled by Mammootty fans

Speaking at a meet of the Women in Cinema Collective at the ongoing IFFK, the Qarib Qarib Singlle actor spoke out against the deep-rooted misogyny in Malayalam cinema.

regional movies Updated: Dec 13, 2017 12:53 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi/Thiruvananthapuram
Malayalam actor Parvathy made her Bollywood debut with Qarib Qarib Singlle.(HT Photo)

Looks like the fight against patriarchy is a long and protracted one. What’s worse is the consistent bullying by trolls in the age of internet. National award winning Malayalam actor Parvathy was the latest to get severely trolled for her views on misogyny.

Speaking at a meet of the Women in Cinema Collective at the ongoing International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), the Qarib Qarib Singlle actor spoke out against the deep-rooted misogyny in Malayalam cinema, according to a Times of India report.

Although she did not take any names, the report said she was referring to Malayalam heavyweight Mammootty’s 2016 film Kasaba to illustrate her point.

“I had watched a film recently, to my bad luck. With all respect to the makers, the film disappointed me, as it featured a great actor spitting totally misogynistic dialogues. A lot of people feel cinema reflects life and society, so when a superstar mouths such a dialogue, people might think its sexy and cool,” Parvathy was quoted as saying by the daily.

Soon enough trolls got into action, attacking Parvathy incessantly, with one saying: “Who are you to talk about Mammootty? We are intelligent enough to differentiate life and cinema and The film’s character demanded the dialogues,” the report said.

However, there were many who supported her as well.

At IFFK, Parvathy also said that the narrative of cinema needed to change in favour of women and stressed on the need for women to be financially independent.

‘Women in Cinema’, the subject at the open forum where she was speaking, brought new perspectives on the role of women in the 90-year-long history of Malayalam Cinema.

Sharing a traumatic personal experience, Parvathy said she was engaged in an abusive relationship in her younger days and endured it because of the wrong perception of relationships that she had learnt from Malayalam films of that time.

“We grew up watching the hero who receives applause in theatres when he slaps a woman on screen. There aren’t many movies which explore the sexuality of women in Malayalam Cinema till now. It is through books that I gained the right perspective,” she said.

The actor, who won the Golden Peacock award at the IFFI 2017 for her performance in Malayalam film Take Off based on the struggles of Kerala nurses in war-torn Iraq, also said that “our film industry was a ‘failure’ in depicting characters without emphasising their gender”.

The forum also discussed the recent sexual attack on a prominent Malayalam actress and the formation of Mollywood’s first women’s collective.

The panelists included actors Parvathi and Rima Kallingal, cinematographers Fowzia Fatima and Maheen, directors Vidhu Vincent, Geethu Mohandas, and Suma Jose and film critic Deedi Damodaran.

Director Vidhu said the film festival was changing the undercurrents of Malayalam cinema, especially for women.

She said some producers were unwilling to make movies with the actor who was attacked, suggesting that a part of the industry had ‘erased’ her from the cinema sphere.

Actor Rima said challenges and boundaries of women in cinema were widening every day. “How many women are economically able or have an open space to go to the theatres alone?” she asked.

“What we want is equal representation for all in Malayalam Cinema — let it be men, women, and transgender, gay or lesbian. We frown when we watch two men or two women making out on the screen because we are not used to it. We have to see more of that every day in our movies to change it,” Rima added.

Cinematographer Maheen felt the grammar of current cinema was “extremely misogynistic,” but its language was slowly changing.

Parvathy receives the Silver Peacock award for her Malayalam drama Take Off at the recently concluded IFFI from tourism minister of Uttar Pradesh, Prof Rita Bahuguna Joshi. ( IANS )

Director-actor Geethu said she had the privilege of working with some male directors who consider everyone as equal.

The formation of Women’s Collective in Cinema (WCC) happened at a time of extreme need. A few of us came together the next day after we heard about the tragic experience one of us had to go through. That’s where this core team was formed, she said.

Cinematographer Fowziya shared her bitter experiences in shooting item numbers for movies. She said showing nudity on screen is OK if it is aesthetically needed, but women shouldn’t be just flesh-oriented performers.

With PTI inputs

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First Published: Dec 13, 2017 12:49 IST