Filmmaker V A Shrikumar Menon who is currently directing the much awaited Mohanlal-starrer Odiyan has come out in support of actor Mammootty in the ongoing Kasaba controversy.
In a lengthy Facebook post Shrikumar said that Mammootty is an artist who is good at heart and deeds, and that he shouldn’t be targeted like this. Shrikumar wrote, “Legends don’t change even if stones are flung at them. For the last few days so many people have been preying over Mammootty.
“He is being targeted in the name of some dialogues that he delivered in a movie (I am not noting down the name of the movie as it is insignificant and neither do I need somebody to poke me to blurt it out). Remember that Mammootty as a human being and not as an actor is being humiliated and assessed here on the scales of philosophical doctrines. Besides, Mammootty himself had made his stance clear and said that he had not entrusted anybody to speak for him ; and he believed that freedom to voice one’s opinion is as important as freedom of creative expression. His words felt like the reflection of his current state of mind which could be under a lot of pressure right now,” he said.
Shrikumar said that his post is not intended to be an advocacy on behalf of Mammootty. “I am just expressing my reverence like millions of others for a great artist who despite hailing from humble backgrounds remote hamlet in Kerala, went on to become an extraordinary actor only through sheer hard work. I am writing this in awe of that person who had given up an entirely different career only to pursue his passion and set up a successful career spanning over four decades,” said Shrikumar.
“Let us go back to the very root of this controversy which falsely placed Mammootty on the antagonistic state. The statement was that an actor like Mammootty shouldn’t have mouthed misogynistic dialogues. Those dialogues were not said by Mammootty but by a character who is a promiscuous police officer. That character was the creation of a writer. Ever since the days of the Bharatha, the legends did not tell the tale of only the good-hearted ones. They also told the tales of Dussasanas, Sakuni and Poothana who tricked men. It only requires common logic to realize that Mammootty’s character too was such a creation by the writer. We despised evil mothers-in-law in the movies, not Sukumariyamma or Meena chechi who portrayed those characters. None send them to the gallows for making their on screen daughters-in-law cry,” said the Odiyan director.
The director said that one could find misogyny in anything. Shrikumar even wondered whether anybody would brand the great bard who penned the lines ‘ninte thingalazhcha noyambinnu mudakkum najn’ or ‘kadali mukulangalil viral nakhapaadukal njan theerkum’, and the legendary singer who rendered those time immemorial songs as misogynists. “I have no idea whether anyone has stamped Vayalar and Yesudas as misogynists.”
Shrikumar said that just like an earthquake has a center of origination a controversy too has a point of evolution, and that one would understand its pointlessness if analyzed with the faculty of common sense. He added that Malayalam cinema has not only portrayed the patriarchal male heroes but also has projected the vile and conniving heroines who dared to go beyond the laws of the society. He even cited Karuthamma who deceived her husband who ventured into the seas and Tessa who castrated her cheating boyfriend as examples of such women characters in movies. The director criticized that there was insincerity in the stances taken by those who hail Tessa’s deed as a declaration of female independence and then speak against punishments given by court. Shrikumar said that the ongoing “intellectual circuses” were part of such hypocrisy which supposedly pitted Mammootty against the entire women folk in Kerala.
“Not even a single actress has ever been criticized for portraying a misandristic character (if there is a noun called ‘misogyny’ then there indeed is an antonym for it) who ruthlessly destroy families and turn homes into mere ‘dolls houses’. No female actor has declared that she wouldn’t play such roles. Every body has the freedom to voice their opinion. Mammootty as an actor is not beyond criticism. It indeed is highly condemnable that somebody should be profanely abused for criticizing Mammootty. But then Mammootty as an actor or as a human being is not responsible for these cyber attacks, neither did he urge somebody to do so. No actor in this world holds the reins over his fans. Had the countless number of fans been mannequins who could be controlled with a mere press on a switch, and then the super stars here would have ended up being dictators even long back,” said Shrikumar.
Shrikumar said that he had a deep personal friendship with Mammootty which started off as a professional partnership. He added that in conversations with the actor he would never be like Chathiyan Chandu, Bhaskara Patel, or Murikkinkunnu Ahmed Haji or even Rajan Zacharia, but only remain as Mammootty, the real human being.
He concluded his lengthy Facebook post saying, “It is a request…please leave Mammootty alone. Let him be a sixty or hundred year old, and allow him to find solace in his passion called acting. Let him live peacefully as a true human being who never insults women.”