Actress Kasthuri, who has been on a hiatus from cinema for nearly 15 years, recently spoke about her stint as an actress in Kollywood industry in a freewheeling interview with the Times of India.
Kasthuri was at her candid best as she spoke about the many ways actresses can be ‘stupid’.
“They (actresses) ask for too much money, they say no to a movie, they don’t know how to take decisions, and sometimes, you just can’t get along with the decision makers. There were movies I was thrown out of because I was not toeing the expected line or ready to give in to the favours that were asked of me. And, I would like to point out that most of this was in relation to this one hero — this one guy who is a hero/politician now. I think it was some kind of ego thing for him. I respect him in so many ways, but he couldn’t take no for an answer. He kept harassing me for that one movie I did with him and threw me out of two,” she said.
Kasthuri also talked about the weird and bizarre things actresses are expected to do.
“Acting is a serious job and is not a joke. It involves a lot of physical labour. And frankly, whatever you do last night shows up on your face. It is not a ‘rock star’ life like how it is perceived and not everyone is sniffing cocaine and coming to the shooting spot. Actresses are sometimes made to stand on a rock, in the peak of summer for a song. They have to look love-struck with a guy who is twice your age — only a few people are watching us and the guy would be trying his best not to fall on you to make your life more miserable. Amidst all this, you have to remember lines and all this has to be shot in a set deadline. Not everyone can just sneak in and have an affair, when everyone knows each other,” she said.
She also addressed the widespread misogyny in the film industry. “Actresses would like to be part of your dreams, if they become a wet dream, that doesn’t mean the actress is a slut. People think women can’t climb up the ladder without the favours of a man. Aishwarya Rajinikanth dancing at the UN is a huge achievement, but there are those who want to believe that she got the opportunity as she is Rajini’s daughter. Did he teach her how to dance? He must have enrolled her in classes, but she ultimately has to dance.”
The actress has never shied away from speaking her mind. In 2015, she posed for American photographer Jade Beall soon after giving birth to her son. The series of photographs show Kasturi cuddling and breast-feeding her baby. While the aim of the shoot was to glorify the body of a mother, it was interpreted differently by Indian media. At the time, Kasthuri was vilified and objectified by many media agencies, which led her to respond:
“Even Indian deities are nude. To this day, our saints are half naked, monks are naked. So that’s a reminder of our past tradition. But the wheel has turned too far. It will take time. Also, In India, there is not a big need for body image introspection I think,” she said in an interview two years ago.
Feature Image: Indian Cinema Gallery