Disclaimer – This only an opinion, and this article does not in any way intend to support misogyny. However if you are already offended, you may simply close this article and move on with your amazing life.
By – Swaminathan Shankar
A few days ago, the murder of Swati a 24 year old techie working in Infosys shocked the whole state. Since then, many have voiced opinions on how stalking is promoted by Kollywood on a large scale. It is ofcourse alarmingly true how movies depict actors repeatedly getting away with stalking, threatening and misbehaving with their lady love (basically different facets of misogyny) and it is even more befuddling as to how these ladies actually fall in love with their stalkers.
This has led a sizeable number of people to opine that Kollywood story writers must exercise self-restraint since it has indirectly taught young impressionable male minds to stalk, threaten, misbehave and do any acts necessary (with blatant disregard towards the legality of such actions) to win the hand of a woman.
Here, I dissent and I dissent on multiple grounds.
On the legal grounds – Multiple courts and many judgements have recognized films as art. They are nothing more than fiction, a figment of the imagination of storywriters. This fiction does not need to confirm to any standards of reality/legality/morality. Writing your own story (however stupid/unrealistic/illegal it maybe) is a fundamental right guaranteed under the freedom of expression by the Indian Constitution. So, on the legal front, these films can and should allowed to be continue. Calls for banning stalker love stories must not be entertained. (In my opinion, calls for a ban on any expression of art should be trashed, but that’s a rant for another day)
Moving onto logical grounds, would curtailing misogyny in movies curtail it in real life too? I do not think so. The idea that women can be stalked & threatened into submission did not come from our movies, sadly it is the other way round. Stalking love stories are money pullers and hence they are written, directed and produced. End of story. The real reason for the rampant misogyny which performs its ugly dance in our society is due to unfounded belief in a silly so called ‘culture’ that separates men and women at an early age and puts a taboo on any and all interaction between the genders. This lack of interaction plants all sorts of wrong ideas in young impressionable minds on how to interact with the other gender.
Now coming to moral grounds, we have to accept and understand that morality differs from one person to another. It is perception based and can seldom be perfectly similar across a population. It is okay to have different ideals, ideologies and perceptions and hence it is also okay to have our own unique set of morals which is in vast disagreement with the morals of others. Are these films on a questionable ground morally? The answer is a resounding yes. But who are we to define morality for the storywriters? They can decide their own morals and they can depict their own delusional reality, however silly it might be.
In conclusion, while a lot of us may disagree with the stalker love stories narrated by our filmmakers, we must defend to our death, their right to narrate it.