While Kamal Haasan's reaction to Vichithra's story on Bigg Boss Tamil season 7 received applause from the studio audience, it has evoked mixed reactions on the internet.
Tamil superstar Kamal Haasan has come under fire for certain comments he made during Saturday's episode of Bigg Boss Tamil season 7. As the show's host, Kamal addressed the personal trauma experienced by contestant Vichithra, which she shared on the show last week, and praised her for not naming the men who sexually harassed her.
For the uninitiated, Vichithra recounted how she faced sexual harassment during the early days of her career. She revealed that a big superstar in the Telugu film industry made an indecent proposal to her during an outdoor shoot more than 20 years ago. And Vichithra faced relentless harassment during the entire stretch of the shoot when she rejected the star's advances.
Vichithra, however, refrained from naming her harassers, — a decision Kamal applauded as"mature" and emphasising her dignified storytelling.
"Vichithra deserves our applause. Because she told her story but censored the names in it. In her story, we didn't see any resentment, but we understood her sadness. She measured her words very carefully. She narrated her story in a very dignified way," Kamal praised Vichithra.
While Kamal's reaction to Vichithra's story received applause from the studio audience, it has evoked mixed reactions on the internet. Critics argue that Kamal's perspective is not aligned with evolving strategies to combat workplace sexual harassment.
Singer Chinmayi led the protest against Kamal's stand, stating, "Mr. Kamal Haasan's Tone-Rewarding, Calmness-Encouraging speech will have real life ramifacations for women who are not even allowed their justified anger. Krodham not allowed. Must be Ganniyam. 'Ipdi pannittaane padupaavi nnu kooda sollala' also frowned upon is my takeaway, as a survivor. 'Censored the abusers names' is also congratulated (sic)."
Many on social media claimed that Kamal's thought process was regressive at a time when global movements like #MeToo encouraged those affected by sexual harassment to publicly identify and condemn their abusers as a deterrent.
"Abusers will have no impact on their careers and go on to become big stars but women who have been affected not just mentally and physically but also career-wise have to speak in a dignified manner without naming any abuser, without holding anger," rued another social media user.
It remains to be seen whether Kamal will address this criticism in future episodes of the show.