Veteran Tamil actor Rekha’s latest revelation about a scene from Kamal Haasan starrer Punnagai Mannan has created an uproar on social media. The incident has emerged as just another time when sexual harassment was normalised and a woman was treated like a mere object in cinema by some of the most reverred personalities of the industry. Also Read - Indian 2 Accident: Crane-operator Arrested After 3 Crew Members Killed on Sets of Kamal Haasan's Film
In her latest interview with Cinema Vikatan, Rekha mentioned that in the 1986 Tamil film which was directed by Balachander, a kiss was added in the scene without her prior knowledge or consent. While explaining what happened, the actor revealed that in the scene, right when the two characters were about to commit suicide, the director made Haasan’s character kiss her and she didn’t know about this new addition in the scene. The actor added that she talked about the kiss to the director and he brushed it off saying ‘it was normal and it didn’t have any vulgarity.’ Rekha said Balachander told her that ‘there is no vulgarity in it and we need to show the love and bonding between the characters.’ Also Read - Gargi College Sexual Harassment Case: 10 People Arrested, 11 Teams Working on Case, Says Delhi Police
Also read: Rekha’s New Statements About How Kamal Haasan-Balachander Planned The Kiss in Punnagai Mannan Also Read - Ganesh Acharya Sexual Harassment Case: Mumbai Police Books Choreographer For Abusing Junior Dancer
The popular veteran actor went on to say that she was worried after the shoot thinking her father would be unhappy with the scene. Rekha said the incident kept ‘haunting’ her for many days but she couldn’t do anything about it.
In the video that’s going viral on social media, Rekha is seen recalling the incident with easiness and a lot of ‘i-have-made-peace-with-it’ attitude. However, many felt that it was just another incident of sexual harassment at the workplace where a woman’s consent was not considered important. Many even pointed out at the fact that both Rekha and the interviewer seem quite relaxed while talking about the incident and that alone sums up how we still need to be educated about sexual harassment at the workplace.
While one user wrote, “Care to highlight this sexual harassment by @ikamalhaasan or will you perform an ostrich hide?” (sic), another talked about the involvement of two big names from the industry and how it could be one of the reasons why this didn’t get the kind of attention it should have. The tweet read, “WTF! This would have made the headlines if it happened in Hollywood. This is proper ‘sexual harassment at the workplace’. Worst is, they’ve even planned it. But since it’s Kamal saaaaar and Balachandar saaaaar, it should be fine I guess.” (sic). Check out these posts:
This is the scene that Rekha is talking about:
Kamal Haasan played a double role in Punnagai Mannan and the film also featured Srividya, Revathi and Delhi Ganesh apart from Rekha. Your thoughts on the incident?