The DMK on Monday swiftly suspended senior Tamil film star Radha Ravi for denigrating fellow artiste Nayanthara at a function on the release of a teaser trailer of her film” Kulaiyuthur Kaalam” in Chennai on Saturday.
He said:” Nowadays anyone can play any role. She ( Nayanthara) plays ghost in one film and Goddess Sita in another”.
Nayanthara was not present at the function as she usually does not attend such promo events. Following widespread condemnation among women artistes and others, DMK president M K Stalin took strong exception to Radha Ravi’s sexist comments and party general secretary K Anbazhagan promptly suspended him from the party. Belatedly Radha Ravi expressed regret.
Ravi Ravi is son of veteran actor of yesteryear M R Radha who himself was known for his outspoken and controversial comments. Radha Ravi saw Nayanthara skipping promotion of her own film as a sign of arrogance.
He said that in the olden days, actors like K R Vijaya were cast the roles of goddesses because they commanded respect. Referring to Nayanthara who played the role of a ghost in a Telugu film, Ravi said she could well be cast as Goddess Sita in another film.
Continuing his attack on Nayanthara, he said:” She is hailed as a lady superstar. She is even compared with doyens like MGR and Sivaji. It is an insult to them. It really hurts if you add Nayanthara to such a list”.
His comments drew sharp rebuke from artiste Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, daughter of leading actor Sarathkumar. In a tweet, she said:” "Shaming women, making offensive jokes on women, using women as eye candy have all become a part of this film industry thanks to our previous generations of women and men who didn't react and instead thought it was ok."
If women in the film fraternity had stood by voice artiste Chinmayi Sripada when she complained that she was sexually harassed by song writer Vairamuthu , things would have changed, she felt.
Radha Ravi, who is president of dubbing artistes union, not only called her charges against Vairamuthu as a “publicity stunt” but also suspended her from the union.
Chinmayi said producers council and artistes association refused to come to her rescue because she was a dubbing artiste .”Now Radha Ravi has degraded a leading star. What action the artistes association would take, she asked.
Varalaxmi said most film unions and associations are run by "male chauvinists". Nayanthara’s boyfriend Vignesh Shivan said he feels "clueless" and "helpless" because nobody would take action against Radha Ravi as he comes from the family of M R Radha.