Singer and voice artiste Chinmayi Sripaada spoke about the MeToo movement and her termination from the South Indian Cine, Television Artistes And Dubbing Artistes Union at an award function organised by the Telugu industry in Chennai today. She bemoaned the lack of awareness around sexual harassment, and urged people to vote for political parties that do not harbor rapists in their ranks.
The event – Ugadhi Puraskaralu and Mahila Ratna Awards – was organised by Sri Kala Sudha Telugu Association to honour actors, singers and filmmakers from the Telugu industry. Chinmayi received the Best Singer award for her 2018 film Geetha Govindam, and in her speech, she thanked the Telugu film industry before moving on to talk about the state of the MeToo movement in Tamil cinema.
In October last year, Chinmayi had accused lyricist Vairamuthu of sexual harassment. And soon after, she came out in support of several women who accused the president of the dubbing union, Radha Ravi of sexual harassment. In November 2018, Chinmayi was terminated from the dubbing union, ostensibly for not paying her annual union dues. She has been fighting for her reinstatement in court since then. Speaking on stage, Chinmayi said that she was effectively banned from dubbing for movies in Tamil.
Addressing the MeToo movement in the film industry, Chinmayi said that there was a lack of awareness around sexual harassment. She called for the inclusion of sex education in education and said that children must be taught to differentiate between good and bad touch from early in their lives. They must also be taught not to be afraid of raising sexual harassment complaints.
She further urged people not to vote for political parties that harbour rapists in the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections.
Chinmayi is contesting her termination from the Tamil dubbing union in court. In March she was granted an interim stay on her ban from the union by a civil court in Chennai. As reported earlier, she said that the union members expected her to apologise in person and pay Rs 1.5 lakh. She and others from the union who have called out alleged misappropriations and harassment were terminated, and they lost work in the Tamil industry, she said.
Chinmayi’s remarks were met with silence from those on stage, including Suhasini Mani Ratnam. The Tamil film industry’s reaction to the allegations raised by Chinmayi and others has been muted; both lyricist Vairamuthu and actor Radha Ravi continue to work on movies.
At the 21st edition of the Ugadi Puraskara awards that happened Music Academy today, legendary singer P Susheela, actors Vijaya Chamundeswari (Savitri’s daughter), Suhasini Maniratnam, Vidyullekha Raman, Raashi Khanna and others from the Telugu industry were present on stage. The event particularly honoured women in the industry.
The 2018 film Rangasthalam was adjudged the Best Sensational Movie, and from its team, Samantha Akkineni won the Best Actress award, Devi Sri Prasad the Best Music Director, Rahul Sipligunj the Best Singer award. Vijay Devarakonda received the Best Actor for Geetha Govindam, Parasuram won the Best Screenplay award, Rashmika Mandanna the Best Debut Heroine for the film. Raashi Khanna won the Special Jury Award, Venki Atluri the Best Debut Director and Vidyullekha Raman won the Best Comedian for Tholi Prema. Akash Puri won the Best Debut Hero for Mehabooba, and Sahu Garapati won the Best Debut Producer for Krishnaarjuna Yuddham.