‘Prostitute, Porn Star’: Actor Lakshmi Reads out Abusive Comments
Actor Lakshmi Priyaa who acted in the Tamil short film Lakshmi (directed by Sarjun) was thrown into the eye of a storm recently as social media users descended on the film and took offence to it.
The film is about a woman in an unhappy marriage who has a fling with another man. Although well-received in festival circuits and winning praise from acclaimed directors, the film attracted a stream of abuse after it was uploaded on YouTube. Lakshmi, who plays the central protagonist in the film, became the subject of memes and jokes apart from all the abuse. Now, in a video directed by Fully Filmy, the actor reads out the responses the film garnered and reacts to them. Far from being subdued by the nastiness of the comments, Lakshmi gives it back as good as she gets.
Watch the video here:
She starts off by saying that she's acted in several films but that it's only through Lakshmi that she has become so well-known to the audience. From hypocritical messages that pin the responsibility of raising the child on the wife while absolving the husband for his behaviour, to calling the actor a "prostitute" and the film a "blue film", Lakshmi reads out all the messages without flinching. In fact, she bursts out laughing at many points.
"So did you watch all social awareness films and turn over a new leaf immediately?" she asks one person who'd said the director must have made a film on important social issues rather than this.
To another person asking why Lakshmi didn't make her husband "fall on the right track", the actor says this was a short film and there's no way the audience can know how much effort Lakshmi put in to make her husband "fall on the right track".
As usual, there were the "spoiling Indian culture" messages and Lakshmi responded to one of these by saying she felt really powerful right now, thinking she could have such an impact. "But unfortunately, that is not true," she quipped.
One of the comments said that the person would meet the director's wife and that the video would be uploaded on YouTube. Calling the comment "really mean", Lakshmi said, "You are a very sick person and I think you should stop commenting on YouTube."
Lakshmi also addressed a person who had a problem with the film's title referring to a Hindu goddess – why not Fathima or Mary, the person wanted to know. Clearly exasperated, Lakshmi says it's unnecessary to bring in religion into this.
The actor went on to say that she was thankful to all those who'd appreciated the film but that whatever she'd read out was only a small sample of all the abusive comments about her, the director, and his family that had come their way.
Lakshmi added that everyone had the right to critique a film but that it shouldn't be in such a way that another human being is disrespected.
I’m just an actor. My job is to convert a writer or director’s thought process (into a performance). For this you call me a prostitute, porn star? I really think this is uncalled for. Every role I do, that’s not how I live my life. I have a life and you’ll never get to know what I’m doing.Lakshmi Priyaa, Actor
The actor ended the video by reiterating that criticism was welcome but "just be respectful", she said.
Watch the short film, Lakshmi, directed by Sarjun, here: