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Director Virumandi on Questions About Collaborating with #MeToo Accused Vairamuthu: “It is Wrong For a Woman to Be Asking These Questions”

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Credits: Virumandi Twitter handle; Silverscreen Media Library

Director P Virumandi, who is currently working on a Tamil biopic starring director and actor M Sasikumar, lashed out at this reporter when asked why he thought it was appropriate to collaborate with Vairamuthu, the lyricist who multiple women have accused of harassment.

On October 9, 2018, singer Chinmayi Sripada accused Vairamuthu of sexually harassing her. Since then, multiple women have accused Vairamuthu of harassment. This magazine ran a feature about the predatory ways of the poet.

On Tuesday, following a social media announcement about his next movie, this reporter contacted the director to ask him for details. Virumandi was planning to retain most of his crew from his previous film, the Tamil drama Ka Pae Ranasingam, including Vairamuthu as the lyricist and  Ghibran as the music composer.

During a follow up call on Wednesday, Virumandi was asked about working with the same crew, and he said, “I am in a comfortable zone working with the same team. We can continue to improve on things that we missed out during our last outing. Be it Vairamuthu or Ghibran or Ekambaram (the editor), they will be more comfortable working with me again as well.”

This reporter then asks Virumandi about working Vairamuthu after the MeToo accusations against him.

Virumandi sneezes, then asks her to repeat the question, and then corrects her, “Call him Kavignar (poet) Vairamuthu.”

When the question was repeated, Virumandi said, “I don’t understand.” And when the question was repeated again, he said, “What is the connection between me and the MeToo movement? What kind of question is this? What is this practice of asking me wrong questions? In what way am I linked to MeToo, and what is the connection between Virumandi’s movie and Vairamuthu’s MeToo. Ask me about my movie, my crew… but why are you asking me these wrong questions?”

He continued, “Another reporter asked me this question too. Tell me which magazine you work for? What does your magazine gain by this, and what do you gain from asking these questions? A woman asking these questions is wrong. A woman asks these questions and that leads to repeated twisted behavior… (tails off)  Oru penn indha maadhiri kelvi kettu adhu thirumba thirumba vakkiramathai… “

“Why are you all like this, he said, “En ipdi irukkeenga Ellarum? Sister, no reporter should ask this question. Please don’t ask any director this question. Avar migachirantha kavignar. He is a great lyricist. I only see him as a poet.  There is no lyricist like him in Tamil. And his writing is important to me, just as you are important to me as a reporter. ”

Silverscreen India also tried to reach composer Ghibran, but he was unavailable.

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