Actor Prithviraj Sukumaran took to social media to express solidarity with his colleague who was kidnapped and assaulted recently. As he reached the sets of his film, where he is sharing screen space with this colleague, he met the media. Taking some time out to address them, he said that she would join the shoot. He requested the media to take into account her state of mind and not ambush her with cameras and mics. “She did not say that she would talk today and it is her decision to talk when she chooses to and address you people. Please don’t create more mental anguish for her.” While adding that such incidents have happened in the industry before, he commented that he did not have anything to say on the issue.
When asked for an opinion, Prithviraj referred to a recent Facebook post where he had laid bare his thoughts. The Facebook status is indeed emotional where he talks about the strength of women in his life, namely his mother and wife. He mentioned how much of a lesser being he is when compared to them. He also praised his fellow actor who was bravely making an appearance in front of the camera for the first time after the assault. He wrote, “..as my dear friend walks into the sets to kick start the shooting of her new film, I once again bear witness to an extraordinary moment of courage from an extraordinary woman in my life! Today..she makes a statement..a statement that will echo through time, space and gender..that no one or no incident has control over your life but YOU! A statement that will now be part of counselling sessions and pep talks around the world. A statement that you my friend..are making in a million unheard voices!”(sic)
There have been innumerable debates and discussions about the role that actors have played as the alpha male hero revelling in misogynistic portrayals, actions and statements often regarded as role models by impressionable youth. Prithviraj chose to make a very bold statement when he wrote, “And to those voices I apologise..for at an age and time when I wasn’t wise enough..I have been part of films that celebrated misogyny..I have mouthed lines that vilified regard for your self respect and I have taken a bow to the claps that ensued. NEVER AGAIN..never again will I let disrespect for women be celebrated in my movies! Yes..I’m an actor and this is my craft! I will whole heartedly trudge the grey and black with characters that possess unhinged moral compasses...but I will never let these men be glorified or their actions justified on screen.” (sic)
Returning to his brave colleague he writes, “Once again..ladies and gentlemen..stand up and applaud for her! Behind the gutsy spunk, there is a vulnerable celebrity who knew well enough what this decision of hers would mean a life under constant scrutiny. But she also knew..that she had to see it through...for that would set an example..light a torch that will show a path for many to follow! Today she makes a statement..A statement of extraordinary courage!” He ends the post by saying he is her fanboy for life!...