A few months ago when Infosys techie Swathi was hacked to death by an alleged stalker in broad daylight, a petition was started by city-based researcher, Iswarya V, demanding that Tamil films stop glorifying stalking. This was addressed to all filmmakers and actors. Stalking was a topic being discussed in several circles, and the public and media alike condemned the legitimacy given to it in popular mass media like movies.
Despite the outrage, Tamil film Remo, starring Sivakarthikeyan which is up for release this Friday and has already grabbed a lot of eyeballs with its trailer, seems to have endorsed stalking. The film helmed by debutant Bakkiyaraj Kannan, is about a guy-next-door who disguises himself as a nurse in order to woo the lady he loves, who is a doctor by profession.
What's worse, lead actor Sivakarthikeyan in an interview, had said that what he does in films is "not stalking" and that it has "pure intentions". It is "not lust" but "elevated love", he claimed.
"What is elevated love exactly? wonders Iswarya, which Sivakarthikeyan has explained as the wish to marry the said stalked girl.
"Ultimately, all stalkers want that," quips Iswarya.
"Seems like Siva is unaware of what 'stalking' exactly is," says Iswarya.
"I started the petition four months ago and after that we have noticed a pattern in the killings that have happened all over India. The sad thing is that though women everywhere are being stalked on a daily basis, it comes to the fore only when it ends violently.
A few reports suggest that after Kabali, Remo is the second most promoted Tamil film this year. "Most of the people in this film are first-timers, including the director and producer. We have a problem with Sivakarthikeyan and other senior technicians. This is not the first time that Sivakarthikeyan's films have glorified stalking. In all his films, he is seen "wooing" the heroine by either harassing her or stalking her."
The actor believes he is a hit among the younger audience and especially children, which he has gone on record to say. Iswarya is ready to take the matter to the CBFC too. "If most of his fans are children, why is the film, which involves deceiving women, given a U certificate? There were films like Guna and 7G Rainbow Colony, which had the actor stalking the female lead but the films were rated A. We ask for the same for this too," she says
For Iswarya, this petition to #BoycottRemo is just a start. "If this one film changes the certificate to A, then the other films that involves such issues will also follow suit."
Archanaa Seker, an activist, is also part of the thread that is urging people to boycott the film for its content. She noted that apart form the actor, PC Sreeram, the cinematographer, for the film, is a also a well-known face respected for the kind of movies he works in. But even he has not responded to a Twitter debate she has tagged him in.