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Celebrate misogyny, and then express outrage over rape. Really? Dear people, please don’t teach us about rape when you earn crores by glorifying misogyny!
Recently, Sandeep Reddy Vanga, the director of Kabir Singh and Arjun Reddy, spoke on how fear is the only deterrent to prevent rape. He was immediately called out for his hypocrisy.
Anyone who has seen either of these movies might remember the opening scene. The scene where the male protagonist uses a knife and threatens a woman to undress so they can have sex. Is it just me or does that actually sound like an attempt to rape someone?
Rape is an absence of consent. And using a knife to make someone do what you want them to can never be defined as consent. What was more problematic was that the protagonist did not face any consequences for his actions. In fact, he was only too happy to shove ice cubes down his pants. (He really did that).
In the same movie, the protagonist goes on to claim his rights over a girl (meri bandi and all). He tells her how to dress, abuses and slaps her in front of her society, threatens to leave her, and tries to break off her marriage. But still gets the happy ending that he had always wanted. All in the name of love.
Vanga also had an interview with Anupama Chopra. During the interview, he talked about having worked with rape victims. He used this as a defence over allegations by those who see Kabir Singh a misogynistic movie. Please watch the interview to know how hypocrisy dies a slow death when he turns around and tweets about punishing rapists.
The reason that his current stance on rape seems double-faced and convenient is because he has profited from maligning women. And the fact that there may be many impressionable young (or the not so young) minds digesting every word and action of the hero in that movie. Who might use it as a reference point while being violent towards women in real life.
Parvathy Thiruvothu was bold enough to take a stand on what Kabir Singh could to the audience. She also said it was imperative for actors to be socially responsible about the movies they choose.
Her comments in the recent roundtable for actors was not just refreshing but soothing to hear. Here is someone who has suffered through violence at the hands of a patriarchal society like ours. She is someone who realises the importance of sending out the right message every time you are on the screen.
She was aware of the realities of our film industry where commercial considerations overruled everything else. But she was unequivocal in her stance of not participating in those movies which played fast and loose with social responsibility.
At the same roundtable sat Vijay Deverakonda- the male lead in Arjun Reddy. His response to the social responsibility question reflected a sort of fear and indifference most of us are aware of.
The ‘akela main kya karunga?’ (What I can I do on my own?) syndrome has affected all of us at some point in our life. When the people who yearn to live in a utopian world, take take a look at the world and how f***** up it is realise the pointlessness of their actions in the greater scheme of things, they develop this syndrome. And it makes us choose the wrong side more often than not.
As if that was not enough, Vijay came up with this rant about being irritated by the social media response to what he said at the interview. He dismissed the people who had genuine complaints about Arjun Reddy being ignorant and claimed that they didn’t know what they were talking about. It wasn’t just shocking but hurtful too.
Your movie justifies violence of every kind against women and is cruel enough to trivialise the hero’s attempt to rape a woman just because she took back her consent! And now you are irritated? How makes that make any sense at all?
Vijay talks about being an understanding human being. But if he really was one, he would have realised the level of anger among people. He would have understood that the glorification of such acts make women vulnerable and feel unsafe every minute of their lives.
I really hope that, for his own sake, Vijay does not have to face the reality of the devastation that his movie has inflicted on the women in our country. He feels that social responsibility is too a heavy burden to bear, and that social media outrage over his statements gets him riled up. But wait till he comes face to face with the guilt and self-loathing of realising what he has really done.
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Writing is my therapy. It helps me make sense of all that is going around
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