Row over Malayalam film director’s sexist comments against Vidya Balan

Kerala State Chalachitra Academy (KSCA) chairman and film director Kamaluddin, also known as Kamal, has made sexist comments about popular Bollywood star Vidya Balan. His grudge against Balan was that she refused to act in his film Aami, based on the life of noted bilingual author Kamala Das, popularly called Madhavi Kutty. He said, “Had Balan played the title role, sexuality would have crept in. This was a part even I didn’t pay much attention to.”

Kamal’s remarks against Balan had not gone down well with Balan’s fans and general public, though hyperactive, Left-oriented feminist organizations in the state have turned a blind eye to the controversy. After Balan’s snub, Manju Warrier was roped in to play the role. “The Madhavikutty I had in mind for Vidya is not the Madhavikutty that Manju Warrier has brought to life. It was god’s blessing that Vidya backed out from the movie,” Kamal was quoted as saying by The News Minute.

Kamal’s project had faced opposition from Hindu organisations, as there was an allegation that Das was tricked into accepting Islam by a 35-year-old Muslim youth playing love saga. She adopted the name Kamala Suraiya after conversion. However, the lover dumped her after her conversion to Islam.

Journalist Leela Menon had claimed that Madhavi Kutty was a victim of ‘Love Jihad’. Many suspect Kamala Das has been used as a trophy by Islamists to entice Hindus to convert to Islam.

This is not the first time that Kamal has made controversial comments. “He had made uncharitable remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rajya Sabha member and film actor Suresh Gopi,” said a journalist.

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