Parvathy row: How troll page ICU got trolled for standing up for feminist actor

After they started making memes in support of Parvathy, the backlash from supporters of their page was shocking — but the admins of ICU are not going to back down anytime soon
Parvathi expressed her opinion at the IFFK 2017
Parvathi expressed her opinion at the IFFK 2017

Ever heard of a troll page getting trolled? It's happening in Kerala. Popular meme and troll page ICU is getting a lot of hate mail because they've made memes of support after actor Parvathy's comments against misogyny in the Malayalam film industry. "The popular sentiment is disappointing. But Parvathy's statement (against misogyny) is giving us new hope," said Hrishikesh Bhaskaran, one of the admins of the popular ICU page.

In case you haven't heard (or seen), International Chalu Union (ICU) extended their support to the actor and her views openly. They lashed out against the fan outrage, but what welcomed them was tons of hate mails. But that hasn't stopped the page's admins from deviating from their stand. "The response is scary. There is so much hatred around. But this can also be a start of a positive change of women empowerment," says Hrishikesh. The memes are all crowdsourced, while the admins choose what goes on the page and what doesn't.

With her: ICU's current cover photo

During the Women in Cinema Collective's open forum at the IFFK 2017, Parvathy critcised a particular scene in the film Kasaba, where a cop (played by Mammootty) grabs his senior by her belt and uses indecent slang to talk to her. What followed was outrage by fans, both online and offline. Some even went to the extent of sending her rape threats. When the actor lodged a complaint, a 23-year-old was recently arrested for this.

 Despite all the hate mail and the backlash, they have no intention of standing down, "We want our stand to be politically correct. Also, Parvathy took the case of Kasaba only an example to explain the misogyny. She didn't call Mammootty a male chauvinist. She has the right to do voice her opinion. But a popular Malayalam news website reported it in a wrong way. The headline roughly translates to, "Parvathy critcises the great actor." That wasn't the topic at all. The outrage was a result of that," he added.

Time travel: An ICU meme comparing the misogyny in two films, released two decades apart

The hate mail isn't heading in only one direction. It's working against the people (and pages) who have been slamming Parvathy for her views, as well.

Another popular page Troll Malayalam, on the other hand, was very vocal in criticising Parvathy's views. At the same time, Majeed Ismail, one of the admins of the page says that they've made it a point to not be misogynists themselves. "We have nothing against Parvathy. But we have a problem with her views. A film must be viewed as a film. The audience is mature enough to understand the difference and not become a reel character in real life," he says. "Even we are receiving a lot of hate mails from many people calling us male chauvinists. But we chose to ignore it. You can't please everyone," he says.

Limit set: A Troll Malayalam meme that says it's ok to troll but not spreading hatred, abusing or threatening people

Nevertheless, he expressed his view of the fans who've been targeting and threatening her. "Troll Malayalam never encouraged this hatred. Also, Parvathy never complained against trolls," he says. "In fact, our trolls will be in a different direction, smashing those who've taken this debate to an ugly level," he says. He also applauded Parvathy for taking it to the cops, unlike the other victims of fan outrage.

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