Published: 05th January 2018
Dear Trollanmaar, think you've hit Parvathy where it hurts? Perhaps. But your time will come SOON!
The internet has been mercilessly trolling Parvathy over her opinion on misogyny in cinema. But the trolls don't realise that what goes around comes around
Two weeks ago when I woke up and reached for my phone and lazily scrolled through Facebook, my TL was flooded with memes trolling Parvathy. Now, I've always liked Parvathy. I liked her in Charlie, I loved her in Ennu Ninte Moideen, suffice to say I'm a huge fan. So the memes were disturbing.
Wondering who she'd offended now, I did a quick google search, which led me to a news website, where the headline said that she had criticised Mammootty. Total shocker, right?
Troll time: One of the memes against Parvathy's views
After checking out the memes and watching the video of her talking about Mammooty and Kasaba and sexism and misogyny at IFFK, here's what was clear to me: the 'trollers' as they possibly like to refer to themselves (trollanmaar in Malayalam) probably didn't bother to watch the video or listen to her speech. I'd be surprised if any of them took the 3 odd minutes it takes to watch the clip before they made some 300 odd memes that then got shared like crazy in Malayali cyberspace. All they probably heard is that someone said that Parvathy said something against Mammootty (Which is again untrue) and like any keystroke-happy, ignorant millennial, they decided to put all their photoshop skills and in-depth knowledge of cuss words (the kind that would get their mother to clip them on the ear) to lash out against her.
I get it.
The mammoth male ego had been hurt. She has just become a feminichi (That's Malayalam for feminazi FYI).
'How dare she? Patriarchy is cool, yo! That's the way we roll. Our women must be kept in the kitchen. We want her to talk about her new cake recipe, the latest chick flick, dreams about her future husband and beauty tips that she read in a women's mag last week. Forget sex, she shouldn't kiss a man who isn't her husband and we can't see that even on screen.'
If that's what you think dear reader, I'd like to disagree with you. And not so politely, at that.
First off, I would want you to patiently listen to 'offensive' speech of hers. (Check the video out here) It won't take much time, trust me.
Parvathy spoke about a good many things ranging from section 377 to freedom of expression and how feminism (read equality) is necessary in Indian cinema. She wanted films to effect a positive change in society. She only said how 'disappointed' (I repeat, disappointed) she was to see many films glorifying sexist acts. But her using Kasaba's example was what irritated fans the most.
Truth is, I haven't watched Kasaba. I didn't want to. There is a reason behind it. My parents who stay abroad, watch a lot of Malayalam films in theatres. Kasaba was one of them. After they'd sat through it, I spoke to both of them over separate calls. "How was the film?" I asked my dad. "Kaashu poyi" (lost my money), was what he said. I asked my Mom the same question and she said, "Disgusting! Even though the person sitting next to me was your dad, I felt really uncomfortable listening to the dialogues in it. What are women? Are they merely sex objects?" she asked. So when I saw Parvathy using Kasaba as an example, I wasn't surprised. I trust my parents enough to know that she had a point.
Misogyny matters: The controversial scene from Kasaba
Recently, I spoke to the admin of a troll page, who told me how their page (ICU) was trolled for taking a stand and supporting Parvathy.
That's when it really hit me.
Parvathy the actor was having her image, family, upbringing and her movies, her art trolled and ripped to shreds because of an opinion she had.
Now, I like Parvathy not just because she lets her curly hair loose, wears huge geeky glasses and defies most conventions of how a heroine ought to look. I also like her because she has the stones (figuratively) to speak her mind — unmindful of whether her career prospects would take a hit. How often do you see that?
A song video from her latest film has got more than a LAKH dislikes. Women in Cinema Collective, an organisation of which she is a part of has been receiving a lot of 1 star ratings on social media. Mayaanadhi, a film directed by Parvathy's friend Rima Kallingal's husband Aashiq Abu is been trolled.
Which brings us to evolved society's newest form of public response — insult, injury, troll. It may not make much of a difference, but if every one of the people who is merrily making memes about Parvathy and insinuating things about her character and upbringing with gay abandon stopped and wondered what if the same thing was done to them for expressing an opinion, or taking a stand for something they believed in....perhaps, a lot of those memes would never have been made. It's different when it's you, your sister, cousin or friend being trolled, isn't it?
While it is true that celebrities have, by some weird default, opened their lives, bank accounts, relationships and lingerie closets to the general public, the fact is Parvathy the woman must have been cut just as deep as you or me at every single insult out there. And that, for me, as a woman, cuts really deep. You probably think she doesn't care and is going about her life ignoring all this and rising above — which though a supreme display of strength and character — can scarcely take away from a fact that she's a woman, a daughter and a friend...and clearly someone who has feelings.
Think about that before you troll someone next time.
PS I may be trolled for writing this. You may call me a feminichi too.
But remember, what goes around, comes around. If you can watch a film in which Dileep, someone accused of sexually assaulting a colleague acted, I'm sure you can watch Parvathy's films too. After all she never harmed anybody.