The ‘Suchi Leaks’ Episode Is A Nightmare For Those Involved
Chinmayi’s husband and Swarnamalya talk about how everyone is quick to sling mud at female celebrities.
The ‘Suchi Leaks’ controversy, as it is being called, has created a stir in Kollywood. The videos, photographs and insinuations doing the rounds have proved to be gossip fodder, with many social media users urging Suchitra (or whoever was operating her Twitter handle) to release more content.
However, for the people involved in the controversy, who have been inundated with abusive messages, memes, hate mail, vulgar phone calls, and rape threats, the situation is anything but amusing.
We seem to have forgotten that celebrities too are human beings with emotions. They have families and friends, who are also dragged into the controversy at hand.
Chinmayi’s husband Rahul Ravindran has dismissed all allegations against the singer. Speaking to The News Minute, he says that a representative from Suchitra’s camp must reveal the truth as there are lives at stake.
Rahul says, “We’ve both mostly maintained a stoic silence about what has happened. We were aware of what’s going on right from the beginning when these tweets started coming. Chinmayi was the first person to say that we must extend our understanding and not go public about what we’d been told or Suchitra’s life would become a circus... however, nobody expected things to escalate so much.”
Rahul also revealed that many on social media are gullible to take these leaks as being the truth.
Chinmayi, who entered the industry at 15 as a child prodigy, was one of the first to counter the allegations being made from Suchitra’s handle.
Can you imagine what some of the other celebrities must be going through? Those pictures and videos may not even be theirs but who’s going to believe them no matter what they say? And most of those were normal pictures with insinuating messages. What happens if someone commits suicide? Who is going to take responsibility for it?Rahul Ravindran, singer Chinmayi’s husband
Rahul points out that trying to explain things on social media is both exhausting and pointless.
Most Kollywood celebrities have expressed their exasperation with the controversy. “I don’t even know Suchitra. It’s not like I can call and ask her to stop,’ one of the celebrities said.
Chinmayi is very upset about what has happened. She becomes okay for a few hours but something will trigger it and she’ll start crying again. She has worked so hard to build all this. ‘What’s the point’ she asks, if all it takes is a bunch of tweets for so many people to start believing the allegations to be true.Rahul Ravindran
"We'd rather wait till there is official word from someone at Suchitra's end before we say anything more," he says.
Not a New Trend
A few years ago, actress Swarnamalya found herself at the centre of a controversy over her alleged links with Vijayendra Saraswathi, then the junior pontiff at the Kanchi mutt.
Recalling the period, Swarnamalya says: “It’s very easy for people to place character judgments on women. And then, if they’re women in the public eye, if they are women who are artists, it becomes easier. It’s a societal mindset. There’s very little thought people put into this.”
Whether there’s any truth to the allegations made on a woman’s character or not, it doesn’t matter to people. The first thing they say is oh she must be a whore. It’s a mindset and that’s what we need to question.Swarnamalya
Swarnamalya points out that no one had stepped up to defend her in 2004, and that things would have been different today.
"There was no social media back then where I could put out my version. I was a 21-year-old caught in a whirlpool of these things," she says.
Swarnamalya admits that the furore over the controversy almost drove her to suicide. She reveals that her family too, went through a difficult time.
My family has always stood by me. They are my strength. But those days were hard. I had a young sister who was at school at that time. You can imagine the kind of looks and stares she got. In fact, her principal shamed her in front of the whole school in the assembly. She came back home crying.
When asked about the nude MMS scandal she was linked to a few years ago, Swarnamalya says she seldom responds when people ask her if she was in the MMS. “Doing so gives the people asking these questions a sense of power over you,” she says.
Swarnamalya admits that the controversies have made her strong. “People are very scared of strength. The fact that you are strong at the face of adversity scares and frustrates people. And I think I have mastered it,” she says.
But not everyone grows into resilience, not everyone is equally strong. And that is something we will all do well to remember when we're indulging in vicarious gossip.
(The article was originally published at The News Minute.)
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