CultureCinema How Tamil Cinema Normalises And Promotes Rape Culture

How Tamil Cinema Normalises And Promotes Rape Culture

When it comes to rape, Tamil cinema cannot seem to get the message right. There are hundreds of movies where rape is reduced to just a joke.

Posted by Pavithra Raman

Progress is when you would be judged harshly by the next generation for what you laugh at today. Although that might be a fairly common occurrence in many other film industries, it’s never the case in South Indian film industries such as Kollywood, Mollywood and Tollywood. People in these industries basically can get away with anything. No matter how offensive their statement is. No one holds them accountable for anything. They shower them with money and fame instead. It is truly appalling how insensitive the South Indian film industry really is, so let’s take a walk down this lane.

Now, it is undeniable that Kollywood has a huge influence on people from all of over the world. However, the industry is forgetting that with great power comes great responsibilities. One of the many things that still haven’t made into that progress basket that we talked about is rape.

Also read: Dear Tamil Cinema, Let Brown Women Play The Role Of Brown Women

When it comes to rape, Kollywood cannot seem to get the message right. There are hundreds of movies where rape is reduced to just a joke. They make us believe that the character who plays as the sex offender is the leading role or the ‘hero’ of the story and the action of said character was morally justified and the victim in that story totally deserves it. Yes, they actually justify rape and blame it all on the victim. They make us believe that she had it coming all along and he just acted on impulse. It has always been this way – the man rapes the woman and gets away with it, or sings derogatory songs and wins accolades and hearts of the audience while the woman is portrayed as the villain.

When it comes to rape, Kollywood cannot seem to get the message right. There are hundreds of movies where rape is reduced to just a joke.

I know it is quite hard to comprehend all these statements that I just wrote without any evidence whatsoever. So, here are some video clips from actual Tamil movies to prove this is a real thing that is happening in Kollywood and youngsters all over the world are watching them and getting influenced by it right now as we speak.

Varalaru ( 2006)

Ah yes, there sure is no other way to prove someone that you’re a man than raping an innocent girl and leaving her pregnant just because she refused to marry you. If you watch the movie till the end, they actually justify his actions and say that she truly deserves it for calling him an effeminate man. Dear men, just for your kind information, raping a girl does not make you a man. It makes you a criminal.

7/G Rainbow Colony (2004)

Watch how they make us feel bad for the guy but not the girl who was just harassed in public. Even though they tried to play it out as an accident and that he didn’t actually mean to grope her. He was already harassing her way before this particular incident. He thrusts his body towards her, touches her back and smells her hair like a creep but at the end of the day, he’s just an innocent desi boy who’s madly in love and she’s an uptight girl who’s just playing too hard to get, right? Not only that, throughout the whole movie, he stalks her, carves her name onto his skin and just won’t quit until she decides to go out with him even though he knew that she was in a pretty serious relationship with another guy at that time.

Now we know that this movie trivialises sexual harassment and promotes unhealthy and toxic relationships and it certainly isn’t romantic at all. Yet it was named as one of the top romantic movies in Kollywood and it still is treasured. See, this is what I’m talking about. This industry is ruined beyond repair.

Now, you might say that those movies came out like a decade ago and things were different back then. Yes, people are supposed to be more sensitised today but that is not the case at all. This next clip here is from a movie that was released just four years ago. Watch for yourself to understand their take on rape.

Aranmanai (2014)

There are other movies just like this that degrade women in every possible way possible. For example, the movie Theeradha Vilaiyattu Pillai starring Vishal is about a man who always wants the best of everything in his life, from pens and clothes to every other accessory. He makes it a rule to try out everything before zeroing in on one. He applied the same method to find love. He selects three girls, whom he would romance at the same time and make them fall in love with him, then reject two of them and finally marry the best one. Yes, he decided that it would be a good idea to get a life partner the same way as he gets his clothes because women are just another one of men’s wants, right? They certainly are not human beings who deserve respect and loyalty.

By watching all these insensitive and may I add, horrendous movies, I have now realised that normalised rape culture and sexual violence are embedded in our society.

The worst part about this movie is when one of these girls find out about his true intentions and confront him. She begs him to stop doing this to the other girls because this could ruin their lives but the movie portrays her as the villain of the movie. They draw her as an avenging crazy ex-girlfriend who tries to ruin his love life with the other two girls.

Besides that, there’s Ambikapathy where Dhanush’s role tries to win over Sonam’s by chasing her on the streets, grabbing her hand in public and expressing his love in a pretty creepy way and of course, who could forget those ignorant and absolutely unfunny rape jokes in Nanban delivered by Silencer. Admittedly, these are dubbed or remade from Bollywood movies, which shows that Bollywood also has issues.

In the movie Remo, the hero stalks the heroine to an extent where she gets so frustrated and asks him to stop so in an attempt to win her back even though she continuously said ‘no’ to him. He decides to disguise himself as a female nurse and befriend her so he could sabotage her relationship with her current boyfriend.

Doing research for this article by watching all these insensitive and may I add, horrendous movies, I have now realised that normalised rape culture and sexual violence are embedded in our society. This industry has normalised things like groping, catcalling, stalking, sexual harassment in the workplace, domestic violence, self-harming and even rape. So much so that some women suppress and minimise their own experiences because it’s considered as the norm by society thanks to such movies.

Also read: Cinema Of Male Apathy: Rape Scenes In Malayalam Films Through The Ages

What saddens me the most about this whole thing is that there is a younger audience who are still learning about the good and bad in this world, and might take these ‘heroes’ from the movies as role models and treat women the same way the characters did. Ergo, instead of saying ‘boys will be boys’ and teaching our daughters how not to get raped, we need to take action to combat rape culture and teach our kids about consent and how to treat girls right. Instead of telling girls to wear modest clothing, we need to teach boys to behave and not to see girls as sexual objects but as human beings.

Pavithra Raman is an aspiring writer and is currently doing her studies in her native country, Malaysia. She feels unexplainable joy and fulfilment every time she sits down to write and she loves working with Google Docs because she can’t afford Microsoft Word. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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