Rape As A 'Compliment'? Why Mysskin's Mammootty Comment Is Repulsive

Rape for how 'talented' someone is? Rape as a higher mode of admiration than love? These are ways not just to normalise rape culture, but also celebrate it.

If you thought Salman Khan equating the effect Sultan’s grueling training regimen with sexual assault was terrible, you had better avoid Kollywood director Mysskin’s recent comments about Mammootty. Because it will make you seethe in rage.

The Tamil director, who is known for ‘dark, issue-based films’, had this to say about lead actor Mammootty’s performance in their upcoming film Peranbu, “You can keep watching Mammootty sir throughout this film. If he had been younger and he had been a woman, I might have fallen in love with him. Had I been a girl, I’d have raped him actually. Such a fabulous acting.”

What was even more unnerving than the tone-deaf statement, was the laughter that erupted among the audience after Mysskin’s ‘throwaway joke’. He later went on to ‘joke’ some more, that he wished that his film would become a hit after a controversial statements. Using sexual assault as a means to grab headlines is about as misguided as it gets. Rape as a compliment? Rape as an award for how ‘talented’ someone is? Rape as a higher mode of admiration than love? Way to not just normalise rape culture, but also celebrate it.

The statement was met with shock on Twitter, thanks to the director’s choice of interchangeable use of the words ‘love’ and ‘rape’. As it is popular cinema in the country holds the mantle for depicting ‘stalking’ as a form of ‘love’. And then for a director to reinforce the image of ‘love’ and ‘forced love’ being the same thing… is disturbing to say the least.

We live in desperate times, sure, but surely not this much. There are better ways to promote a film.

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