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'I did what made me happy': Malayalam actress Rajini Chandy opens up on being slut-shamed for makeover photoshoot

Once the pictures from the photoshoot were shared on social media, Chandy received mixed response from the public, with many bashing and judging her.

Published: 23rd January 2021 09:26 PM  |   Last Updated: 24th January 2021 12:54 PM   |  A+A-

Actress Rajini Chandy (L) with a new look  and on the right without any makeover.

Actress Rajini Chandy (L) with a new look and on the right without any makeover.

Online Desk

A fun makeover photoshoot for 69-year-old Mollywood actor Rajini Chandy soon turned out to be a reason for her online trolls to slut-shame her. But why?

Athira Joy, a freelance photographer known for her unconventional work, had presented Chandy with the idea of a makeover photoshoot with the actor as the model.

“She is a few years elder to my mother and she makes bold statements with her personality and confidence. Her attitude is what makes the difference and I presented the idea of the photoshoot to her. I asked if she had any inhibitions in wearing western outfits as it was a makeover photoshoot. She was very comfortable with it because she used to wear them when she was young,” says Athira. 

“Women after a certain age are confined within the likes and dislikes of their family, especially in the traditional families from the God’s Own Country. They live a caged life without being able to express and choose what they want to do in the fear of what the society and family might think. With the photoshoot, I wanted to convey the message that women should not assume that their life had come to a fullstop when old age comes calling,” says the 29-year-old photographer. 

Once the pictures from the photoshoot were shared on social media, Chandy received mixed responses from the public, with many bashing and judging her for choosing to wear jumpsuits and long dresses.

“I expected to get some awry comments but did not expect to get a full-blown reaction towards the pictures. Most of the people think I agreed for the photoshoot for publicity or for movie promotion. But it is not true. I did what made me happy and it was fun doing the photoshoot. What makes me sad is the awful comments from a few women and I pity them,” says the actor. 

Talking about on how far behind Kerala is on social literacy, journalist Ashitha Jayaprakash residing in Kerala’s Kollam says, "In Kerala, for every woman there is a ‘lakshman rekha’ drawn around all the aspects of her life. For example, school girl is supposed to behave and dress in a certain manner and talk to only certain people. But the issue is now the same is expected from women of all ages.”

Rajini pulls no punches, “I have travelled to many places with my husband and I have seen women comfortably wearing western outfits. I was living in Mumbai from 1970-91 and I have always sported such costumes in the past. Now at the age of 69 when I do something out of the box which is unconventional for a person of my age, the society bashes me as they think what I do is wrong. But who decides if it is right or wrong?” she asks.

“Rajini Chandy looked absolutely stunning. Trolls either have a very closed and narrow window into life and very strict and rigorous rules they follow. Or they are the people who are simply in a jealous awe of the lady who dared to make her age her best friend. We are all different people with different backgrounds and different upbringings. Our close circles teach us our values. Sometimes there are none of these available to the trolls. Hence, their perspectives are moulded amongst their peers who also may not have any genuine refinement present in their lives,” Manjiri Varde, an artist and mother-in-law of Bollywood actor Sameera Reddy, spoke up for Rajini.

“When I was wearing a red lipstick and walking merely meters away from my house, two men passing by on a bike, passed lewd comments. The thing to notice is that people have the urge to comment on anyone who steps outside this ‘lakshman rekha’,” Ashitha draws from her experience.

Wondering on why the photoshoot became such a big deal for many, Rajini said, “We boast of being the highest literate state in the country but we are yet to become more broad-minded. It is pretty common for women of all ages to sport costumes they feel comfortable in. Why are we making a big deal out of it? People really need to do what makes them feel happy. It is about growing as an individual and to all the trolls on my photographs, I have no time to spare for unnecessary drama.”



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