Actor Mansoor Ali Khan’s offensive and misogynistic comments about Trisha Krishnan have ignited a significant controversy, with many industry insiders, including director Lokesh Kanagaraj, in whose recent film Leo the two worked (although they didn’t share screen time), and the Nadigar Sangam, strongly criticising his remarks.
During a recent media interaction, Mansoor made misogynistic remarks, expressing regret for not having a “bedroom scene” with Trisha in Leo and mentioning his involvement in numerous “rape scenes” in the past.
Following this, Trisha herself, apart from Lokesh, Telugu star Chiranjeevi, singer Chinmayi Sripaada, film producer Archana Kalpathi, actor and NCW member Khushbu Sundar, director Karthik Subbaraj and actor Malavika Mohanan, slammed Mansoor for his statements.
However, the manner in which Mansoor Ali Khan made these comments as if it’s his entitlement to make such “jokes”, also draws attention to the way women are seen and treated, both on- and off-screen. It further reveals the hypocrisy of industry bigwigs, who, despite shedding crocodile tears in movies over women’s issues, remain conspicuously silent when such incidents happen in real life, allowing such behaviour to persist without consequences.
In fact, in spite of Mansoor being infamous for his atrocities, he continues to secure roles in significant productions, the most recent example being his involvement in Leo, featuring ‘Thalapathy’ Vijay in the lead, who, despite harbouring political ambitions, has yet to address the matter.
It may be recalled that Mansoor faced conviction in 2001 for the rape of a 23-year-old woman, as reported by The Times of India, resulting in a seven-year prison sentence. However, in 2012, he successfully argued in the Madras High Court that “the woman made malicious prosecution and defamation against him,” News18 reported.
Mansoor is not the first, nor the last, celebrity to exhibit such misogynistic/sexist behaviour publicly, especially in the South. The prevalence of such incidents is so substantial that it forces acknowledgement that the problematic portrayal of women on-screen is a direct reflection of the industry’s mindset and conduct.
Rekha accuses Kamal Haasan of kissing her without consent in Punnagai Mannan
It was yesteryear actor Rekha who made one of the most shocking revelations which clearly underlined that male actors and directors do know the concept of consent. In an interview, she disclosed that late director K Balachander and her co-star Kamal Haasan did not seek her consent for an impromptu kissing scene in their 1986 film Punnagai Mannan.
Rekha revealed that Balachander and Kamal unilaterally decided that she would be kissed on the lips without her consent. The gravity of the incident is further heightened by the fact that Rekha was only 16 years old at the time.
Alencier makes ‘misogynistic’ comments during Kerala State Film Awards ceremony
Malayalam actor Alencier Ley Lopez, previously accused of sexual harassment by a fellow actor, once again stirred controversy with alleged misogynistic comments at the Kerala State Film Awards ceremony in September 2023.
While addressing the gathering after receiving the Kerala government’s special jury award, Alencier remarked that he should not be “tempted” by presenting a statuette modelled after a female.
“I have a request. Do not tempt us by presenting statuettes modelled on women. We have a Chief Minister who is the epitome of masculine strength. So, we should be awarded with figurines that reflect the strength of a man,” he said during the ceremony.
Director Suraj says he instructs costume designers to shorten lengths of heroines’ attire
In 2016, while promoting his Vishal, Tamannaah Bhatia-starrer Kaththi Sandai, director Suraj sparked controversy by expressing his preference for keeping the attire of his heroines short. During an interview, when he was asked about Tamannaah’s role in the film, Suraj said: “We are a low-class audience. Viewers pay to see a hero’s action and a glamorous heroine. I don’t believe in a heroine wearing a saree. In commercial films, they need to exude glamour.”
“If the costume designer suggests knee-length attire for the heroine, I instruct them to shorten it,” Suraj mentioned proudly asserting his stance accompanied by a sly smile.
However, what an entitled man like Suraj did not expect was for women to retaliate. While Tamannaah criticised the remarks, emphasising that women “should not at any point be objectified as commodities”, ‘Lady Superstar’ Nayanthara vehemently rebuked the director, asserting that actresses were not strippers who shed clothes for money, The News Minute reported.
Radha Ravi’s many statements
Yet another ‘influential’ figure in the film industry, Radha Ravi, not only has a flourishing career but also wields considerable power despite having made numerous misogynistic and sexist comments. Infamous for verbally attacking colleagues, Ravi faced accusations during the #MeToo movement in 2018, with survivors who chose to remain anonymous calling him out. In response, Ravi attempted to discredit the entire movement with scathing remarks. Notably, singer Chinmayi, who brought these survivor stories to light, was banned from the dubbing union by Ravi, who served as its president, for speaking out against him.
Ravi’s controversial behaviour extended into 2019 when he personally targeted ‘Lady Superstar’ Nayanthara, making sexist remarks about the actor. During an event, he commented, “Nayanthara plays a ghost in Tamil films and the goddess Sita in Telugu movies. In my days, we would cast actresses like KR Vijaya to play the role of Sita. Today, anybody can play Sita. You can cast a person, whom you respect or someone who sleeps around.” He also made a highly “insensitive” joke about the Pollachi sexual assault case at the same event.
— Visvesh ✨ (@PawPawVee) March 31, 2021
Despite facing expulsion from DMK following his remarks against Nayanthara, Ravi found acceptance in the then-ruling AIADMK, joining the party in a meeting with then-Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami. Later in the year, he left ADMK and joined the BJP, where he currently holds membership.
In 2021, as a member of the BJP, Radha Ravi once more made comments about Nayanthara. While participating in a political campaign, he brought up the name of the ‘Lady Superstar’ again, taking jabs at DMK leader Udhayanidhi Stalin. Wearing a BJP scarf, Ravi told the gathering: “Who is Nayanthara to DMK? Is she DMK’s public relations officer? Why do they have to expel me for talking about her? Even before they issued any directive, I submitted my permanent resignation. If she is in a relationship with Udhayanidhi, what can I do?”
Ranbir Kapoor’s phaeloed comment
Following a YouTube live session last year, Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor became embroiled in controversy due to an insensitive remark he made about his wife Alia Bhatt’s weight gain during pregnancy.
While discussing the promotions of their film Brahmastra, Alia mentioned, “If the question you are asking is why we are not phaeloed (spread) everywhere, right now our focus is…” At that moment, Ranbir interjected, saying, “I can see somebody has phaeloed,” gesturing pointedly at her baby bump. Alia appeared momentarily stunned, looking down at her baby bump and then at Ranbir in shock. He quickly tried to backtrack, laughing and patting her shoulder, saying, “Joke… in a cute way.” Despite his apology for the comment, it is undeniable that the criticism he received was justified.
Ranveer Singh asks Anushka Sharma if she wants her a** pinched
In a 2011 episode of Koffee With Karan, Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh took his Band Baaja Baaraat and Ladies vs Ricky Bahl co-star Anushka Sharma by shock by asking, “Hey, you want your a** pinched? I’m right here.” While Karan is seen laughing, albeit awkwardly, Anushka appears flabbergasted and eventually shuts him down by saying, “Don’t talk to me like that.”
Jim Sarbh’s ‘rape joke’
Actor Jim Sarbh faced controversy when a video surfaced online, purportedly showing the Padmaavat star making a rape joke. The clip was reportedly recorded at a party he attended during the Cannes Film Festival. In the video, Jim was observed delivering a line in a private setting at an after-party event at the 71st Cannes Film Festival.
He, however, said in a statement to IANS: “It is unfortunate that my comments were taken out of context. I do not now nor have I ever condoned any form of sexual violence. This (video) has been picked out of context without a prelude where I am actually enacting parts of a play which is a dark satire.”