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New media misrepresents role of women: Kumar Shahani

Special Correspondent

— Photo: K. C. Sowmish

GENDER ISSUES: Film director Kumar Shahani watches an exhibition titled ‘Aval Vellithirayil'

Thrissur: Film director Kumar Shahani has said the new media, especially TV, misrepresents the role of women in society by dishing out misleading and distracting images of female bodies.

He was addressing a discussion on ‘Representation of women in cinema' conducted as part of a two-day exhibition, titled ‘Aval Vellithirayil' (woman on screen), that began here on Friday.

“The ‘ angika', hinged on the physical, is one of the most important types of ‘ abhinaya' (acting), according to Indian texts. But the physical aspect is senselessly and tastelessly handled in the new media. Cinema should address the gender question through reclamation of women's subjectivity.”

Kerala State Chalachitra Academy chairman K. R. Mohanan; Kerala Sahitya Akademi secretary Purushan Kadalundi; Bina Paul Venugopal and Sajitha Madathil were present. The exhibition, organised by the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy and the Kerala Sahitya Akademi, focuses on women's presence in Malayalam cinema. On show are photographs with detailed captions and posters.

When the first Malayalam film, ‘Vigathakumaran' was screened, viewers pelted the screen with stones as it showed a woman.

A woman acting on screen was unacceptable in conservative Kerala. Unable to face such insular attitudes, Rosy, the actress in the film, left Kerala.

Photographs and details of early actresses C. K. Rajam, P. K. Kamalakshi (‘Jnanambika), M. K. Kamalam, K. N. Lakshmi (‘Balan') and Kumari (‘Neelakkuyil) are on display.

The exhibition records the contribution of women actresses in Malaylam cinema.

There are section devoted actors who appeared in the films of Adoor Gopalakrishnan, K. G. George, T. V. Chandran, Padmarajan and Bharathan.

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