Acclaimed Tamil film editor B Lenin launched into a tirade against actress Amala Paul for her costumes in her most recent movie Thiruttuppayale 2 at a press event organised to support Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati last week in Chennai. Thiruttuppayale 2 was released on November 30.
“In CG [computer graphics] the camera will further go inside and show everything else. How disgusting is that,” the editor fumed at the event, referring to Paul’s interview in the Times of India newspaper about her role in Susi Ganeshan’s latest production Thiruttuppayale 2. A poster for the movie shows Paul in a costume that reveals her midriff. During her Times of India interview, Paul had joked, “I never thought my navel would create so much buzz around the film.”
Lenin was so irked by Paul’s comments that he read out portions of her replies at the event in Chennai.
The editor of Anjali (1990), Indian (1996) and Chennai 600028 (2007) also claimed that media organisations were giving excessive importance to actors and big-budget films. Speaking on the Padmavati issue, Lenin recommended that the Chennai International Film Festival, which will be held in the Tamil Nadu capital between December 14 and 21, show Padmavati even though it has not yet been certified by the censor board.
Lenin then launched into an attack on Padmavati’s lead actress Deepika Padukone. Speaking in Tamil, he commented on the fact that Padukone was living by herself in Mumbai, and claimed that she had driven away her father, Prakash Padukone, from her home. A person’s actions make his or her personality, Lenin said.
His comments have drawn criticism from actors in the Tamil film industry. “Lenin Sir is a big inspiration, almost a father-figure, for his path-breaking films,” Tamil actor Nasser said in an interview with Silverscreen. “That he speaks in singular about an actor is shocking. It sets a bad precedent for others to follow. He has every right to criticise youngsters professionally, but not personally.”
Actor Anu Hasan too expressed her displeasure at the editor’s comments and questioned his targetting of Amala Paul. “Why did he pick on Amala Paul and attack her in the way he did?” Hasan told the entertainment portal. “Is it because he would rather pick on an actress assuming she can’t or won’t hit back? If he is truly angry with all actors and actresses why didn’t he air his problems with actors?”
Lenin’s comments come on the heels of several derogatory remarks about Tamil actresses. In September, actor and filmmaker TR Rajendran humiliated Sai Dhansika for not thanking him in her speech at a press meet for her film Vizhithiru. “I didn’t expect you to talk about me, but I’m mentioning it now so that you learn,” Rajendran patronisingly said, reducing the actress to tears.
In November, Tamil YouTube Channel Fully Filmy came under fire for a sexist video interview with Andrea Jeremiah ahead of the release of the Tamil movie Aval. The host, VJ Abhishek, commented on Jeremiah’s appearance instead of her performances and claimed that she would make a good Wonder Woman, adding that it was not because he imagined her in a skirt. Abhishek began the interview by saying that men like him have only salivated at women like Jeremiah from afar. “Getting access to women like you is tough,” he added, stretching his hand out for a handshake. “So here is a hello from an Abhishek who has salivated for a long time looking at you.”
In the same interview, Abhishek said that Jeremiah’s co-star in Aval, Siddharth, would get upset if he referred to him as “Chocolate Boy.” The channel initially defended the interviewer’s tone to be satirical, and later apologised for crossing the line in a statement.