Padayappa, Singaravelan And More: 5 Times Tamil Cinema Displayed Toxic Misogyny On Screen

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    Tamil cinema and misogyny have gone hand-in-hand forever. It isn't uncommon to find dialogues such as "Woman should be like a woman; man should be like a man" in Tamil films. (Whatever that meant.) A Tamil director was also asked to apologise after he revealed that he instructed the costume designer to keep the length of the heroine's skirt as short as possible. Imagine what directors like these bring to the big screen.

    We take you through five instances when the toxic misogyny in Tamil cinema made us cringe.

    Mannan

    Mannan

    Vijayashanti is seen as an over-achieving industrialist in this saga. She decides to marry Rajinikanth, who plays a worker in her factory. She chooses him because, hold your breath, he slapped her and she wants to get back at him! Forget about any ounce of logic here to the marriage. A scene sees Rajinikanth slapping Vijayashanti several times and telling her to keep it to herself since she'd be embarrassed if this came out in the open.
    Forget about the fact that a top industrialist or any woman for that matter can approach the cops to settle a case of physical violence. The end of the movie shows the once top-rated industrialist resigned to the kitchen while the man goes off to work! The director can't even show them both running the company together! Even though the movie released in the early ‘90s, it took us back several decades, one must say.

    Singaravelan

    Singaravelan

    The entire movie revolves around an obsessed Kamal Haasan stalking, groping and whatnot an unwilling Khushboo (who is his cousin) and we are forced to buy this in the form of unconditional love! It was a familiar trope the movies of the ‘90s followed - guy falls in love, girl rebuffs, guy's friends and he employ every trick in the book to get her to like him, whether or not it involved consent.
    An important block that these masala films employed was capturing the moment when the reluctant heroine falls in love with our hero. In Singaravelan, it was when Kamal Haasan asks, "Does she know to wear a saree? Does she know to keep a bindi? Does she keep jasmine flowers in her head? Does she know to blush?" And suddenly, she's head over heels in love with him. Slowcaps!!!

    Padayappa

    Padayappa

    This movie could well be hailed as the king of misogynistic films of Tamil cinema! Rajinikanth spouts a lengthy dialogue in which he says a woman should be soft, mild-mannered and not like a baajari (an uncouth term for a woman who's aggressive). For good measure, he even adds that a woman being a woman is good for her and everyone around her.

    Puthiya Pathai

    Puthiya Pathai

    The movie, meaning ‘a new path', literally brought into focus a maverick filmmaker called R Parthiban. But just the premise of the movie is enough to make you go WTF!!! It was about a rape victim marrying her rapist and changing him for the better! Do we even need to say anything more in these particularly frustrating times when even Me Too Movement is not taken seriously?

    Sivakasi

    Sivakasi

    Though Vijay might be much junior to the stars mentioned above, unfortunately even his films haven't been devoid of misogynist dialogues (things have changed for the better with time). His films now even extoll women. But cut to times when a scene in his film Sivakasi has him questioning Asin as to why she's sporting a bra (in actuality, it's a sleeveless top) and undergarments (it's shorts in the actual scene). "To you, it's sleeveless, to us (men) it's a bra. To you, it's shorts, to us, it's an undergarment. Learn to dress like a woman," he preaches.

    In another scene, he forces her to say 'I love you', which she reluctantly says. But what follows is a smile and a song!

    God save our leading ladies from such movies and heroes!

    If you know of any more such movies and dialogues from Tamil cinema, do let us know in the comments below.

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