Jyothika has a big message for filmmakers. She wants filmmakers to treat women with respect and dignity, the same respect their own family members get. She further asks that filmmakers don’t show women as bimbos, especially in big, hero-centric films.
Jyothika spoke at the audio launch of Magalir Mattum, and talked about some of her concerns with the film industry. According to a report in the Indian Express, she said, “In our films, heroes grow younger with every film and heroines run out of opportunities as they get old, but director Bramma gave an opportunity to play a much younger role than my actual age. I think he is the first director to do so and I thank him for giving me a new onscreen image. Thank you Bramma for giving me my ‘youth’ back as the actresses are considered old at 30.”
She also said, “Heroes have a large fan following and their onscreen roles make a major impact on the youth. So we are socially responsible for what is happening to women in India. Cinema has a big impact on youth. Please don’t portray women as bimbos. At least make women in your films look smart and don’t degrade them with double entendres, and vulgar introduction scenes.”
In an interview with Chennai Times, she further elaborated on this.
When asked why she took up Magalir Mattum, she answered:
“I also liked the fact that Bramma’s thinking was very different from the directors who approached me with female-centric scripts. He saw the heroine to be younger than the actress’s actual age. This concept is a big taboo in the south Indian film industry .
When actresses reach a certain age, filmmakers don’t see them younger than that. They see them playing 20 years older to their actual age. Like, for me, somebody will easily tell me to play the mother of a Class 12 girl, while my children are only in Class 5 and 6. So, to ask me to play an unmarried girl, whose age is eight years lesser than my actual age…that difference in thinking impressed me”
From there on, Jyothika expanded on the role of women in films, and the treatment they face.
“In most of the big-hero films, the girls are shown to be very dumb. They just have to be around the hero, singing songs. At least that’s OK, but many a time, they are not even shown as intelligent individuals, which is why it’s nice to see films being made with women in the lead.”
Magalir Mattum stars Jyothika, Urvashi, Saranya Ponvannan, Bhanupriya and others, and is written and directed by Bramma. The film’s audio launch happened recently. See the Silverscreen Exclusive gallery of the launch here.