Entertainment Kollywood 03 Nov 2016 A glass in hand... a ...

A glass in hand... and drama ensues!

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | JANANI K
Published Nov 3, 2016, 12:00 am IST
Updated Nov 3, 2016, 12:29 am IST
Priyanka on the Ellen Show doing tequila shots.
 Priyanka on the Ellen Show doing tequila shots.

The biggest highlight of Priyanka Chopra’s appearance on Ellen last week was her tequila shots with the host! It’s not just PC, but most Bollywood actresses aren’t shy about being televised or photographed drinking... a far cry from their Tamil counterparts.

Why is the representation of women with alcohol poor in Kollywood, even at a time when it’s supposed to be at its ‘progressive’ best? There are just a handful of films over the last decade that have shown their leading ladies drink…

Otherwise, it usually turns out that she has negative shades or a character to be morally shunned! Off-screen too, Tamil actresses are terrified of being clicked with a glass in hand and religiously shy away from uploading pics on social media that even hint at alcohol near them.

Akshara Gowda of Stylish Thamizhachi fame stated that being a public figure comes with certain terms, especially when a person belongs to the film industry. She says, “Be it an actress or not, woman do drink. There is nothing to hide in it. People in south India are image-conscious and you are expected to follow rules considering your public image. Also, women here are viewed as ‘gods’! People have pre-conceived notions about what a woman should wear and how a woman should behave. If you look at Priyanka Chopra, she is the same person on and off the screen. I think that is why she is successful in her career. Even in my upcoming film Bogan, there is a party scene where all the men are holding champagne glasses and I was given a cup with orange juice! Of late, with films like Iraivi, I am seeing changes in Tamil cinema. Hopefully, we continue to do that.”

Director Nalan Kuamarasamy opines that such scenes are less in Tamil cinema because there are very few women who drink here. “A movie can only reflect what is going on already in the society. Very rarely we can find a girl going to a TASMAC and buying liquor. Of course, a small sect of girls drink during college life, but these stories are not taken as subject for a film. When the culture changes, which will happen very slowly, films will also change.”

Ashok Selvan says such depiction of women is not just confined to films. “Why only girls, even guys drinking is portrayed in a native light on-screen! We, as a society, create a bad image when we see a girl going to a liquor shop. We are a patriarchal society, and films alone can’t be blamed. The entire mindset should be. However, things are changing for good,” he asserts.

On the other hand, Priya Anand feels that whether a scene is considered obscene or not, lies in the hands of the director. “I have acted in scenes where I had to drink. In fact, in Anand Shankar’s Arima Nambi, Vikram Prabhu and I meet at a club for our first date. It wasn’t seen in a derogatory manner, as Anand had crafted the scene well. Also, it is always fun to act drunk, and it is acting at the end of the day! On a personal note, I make sure that I am a part of progressive films and not just be a set property,” she explains.

Sunainaa of Kadhalil Vizhundhen fame shares that the director’s personal exposure will help him design a woman’s character on screen. “It depends on the director and it is on the kind of script that one chooses to be in. Be it on screen or off screen, people are expected to be at their comfort zone without being judged. While some of them take criticisms to heart, others prefer to brush it off. I am not someone who judges a person and I don’t go deep into it. People can do whatever they want to in their life,” she rues.

This leaves us with the question, ‘Should directors approach films in a more progressive manner?’

(With inputs from Kirubhakar Purushothaman)

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