Nayanthara, who rarely makes public statements, has issued one now in response to Radha Ravi’s sexist comments on Saturday at the Kolayuthir Kaalam trailer launch. In the statement, she condemned Radha Ravi’s actions, and called out the people who encouraged such behaviour. She also asked the Nadigar Sangam to institute an internal complaints committee (ICC) – a mandatory requirement for any workplace with more than 10 members.
Answering his query on how she could be chosen to play goddess, she said: “I shall continue to take-up the multi-faceted roles of Sita, ghost, goddess, friend, wife, lover, so on and so forth, with the sole intention of providing maximum entertainment to my fans.’
On Saturday, actor Radha Ravi spoke at the trailer and audio launch of Chakri Toleti’s Nayanthara-starrer Kolayuthir Kaalam. On stage, Radha Ravi made crass statements in which he slut-shamed Nayanthara, alluded to “scandals” she was linked to in the past, and said that despite all that, she is now being cast as a goddess in films. His statements have been roundly criticised by many, and after some pressure, the DMK has temporarily suspended him from party membership.
In her statement, Nayanthara thanked the DMK chief MK Stalin for taking action against Radha Ravi, and then called out members of the audience at the event who cheered his comments. She said, “What remains ghastly shocking about his male-chauvinistic speeches are that he never fails to get applause and laughs from some members of the audience. As long as the audience encourage sexist remarks, speakers like Radha Ravi will continue to thrive on misogyny and cracking denigrating jokes against women.”
Nayanthara also said: “I would like to strongly register my condemnation and protest against the derogatory speeches made by Mr Radha Ravi against women and children in general and me in specific.”
In her statement, the Lady Superstar also requested her fans and well wishers to question such behaviour and thanked them for their support.
Nayanthara also called out the Nadigar Sangam and asked it to set up an ICC that will take up such issues and create a safer workplace for actors and actresses. The ICC is a mandatory requirement in any organisation with more than 10 full-time members or staff, and must be headed by a senior woman employee from within the organisation. The ICC will be one of the first ports of call in cases of sexual harassment, assault, and other behaviour that may create an unsafe working environment for women.
In her statement, Nayanthara says, “Lastly, my humble question to the South Indian Artistes Association (Nadigar Sangam):- Will you set up the Internal Complaints Committee as per honourable Supreme Court’s dictum and commence an internal inquiry as per Vishakha guidelines?”
Read her full statement here:
Ever since the second wave of #MeToo swept across the various film industries in India, women professionals in the film industry have called out their co-workers who have sexually harassed or assaulted them. It began with actress Tanushree Dutta who called out Nana Patekar for sexually harassing her on sets in 2008. A group of women artistes from the Malayalam film industry set up the Women in Cinema Collective and have been pushing for the setting up of an ICC at the industry’s premier body AMMA. The Telugu film industry also set up a “Voice of Women” organisation that was to take up issues of sexual harassment and assault in the industry.
The Nadigar Sangam and the TFPC issued statements in October last year stating an ICC will be set up. Back in October 2018, Nasser, the president of the Nadigar Sangam had said “We are planning to set up a committee. When it takes concrete shape, we will announce further details.” However, since then, no concrete steps seem to have been taken.