Bhagyaraj responds to backlash over ‘victim blaming’ comments
Veteran filmmaker Bhagyaraj's statements at the audio launch of Karuthukalai Pathivu Sei are getting slammed online, and we got in touch with the director for his reaction to such criticisms
Veteran actor-director K Bhagyraj is facing a backlash for his statements about women made at the audio launch of the upcoming Tamil film, Karuthkalai Pathivu Sei. The filmmaker presided over the function as the chief guest and shared his opinion that men are not the only reason behind the sexual harassment of women. He did this by recalling an age-old Tamil adage, ‘Oosi edam kudukaama nool nuzhaiyathu’.
He went on to comment on the Pollachi rape incidents. “Those boys are not the only people responsible for the crimes. You have a weakness and he has exploited it. If he has done a big mistake, you are also guilty of creating an opportunity for that to happen,” he said.
With the statements naturally getting slammed, we got in touch with the director to probe further. He claims his statements are taken out of context, but continues to echo his earlier statements. Bhagyaraj says, “Though there is some criticism, many have also felt that I have made a valid statement. Women used to have certain self-imposed restrictions. They had self-control and used to hesitate to talk to men in public space, but now with smartphones, they talk like a free bird. This creates opportunities for crimes to happen.”
About his statements on the Pollachi rape case, he says, “What those boys did is wrong, of course, but if the girls had been a bit more cautious, they wouldn’t have gone to their places. The girls were also a bit liberal and got cheated. So, the girls are not the only people to be blamed. But it has been projected as if I blamed it entirely on the women.”
He adds, “Women can compete with men at work, education… they can fly into space like Kalpana Chawla. They are capable of doing all these things like men. But at the same time, just because a guy smokes and drinks, women doing it makes us lose respect for them. They are calling this male chauvinism. We are not treating women as slaves and have been giving them all sorts of liberty. We have abolished sati and approved of widow remarriage.”
When asked he is not focusing on advising men, he says, “Guys are being schooled about such things. Our culture teaches men to treat every woman, except his wife, as a mother or aunt or sister, based on her age. Also, a husband is expected to be a father and a friend to his wife too. These are the values that uphold our family system.”
He believes, “Women should be like fire, and maintain a gap with the people around them. Things have changed these days. They use Tik Tok, post videos of dancing and singing, expecting likes. If a guy appreciates her, she gets carried away. Women should be careful with these new technologies. A dad buys a phone for his daughter for safety reasons, but when it gets misused, it is painful.”