Chinmayi Reacts to Mani Ratnam Signing #MeToo Accused Vairamuthu

A year ago, Chinmayi Sripaada took to Twitter to share her #MeToo story in which she accused lyricist Vairamuthu of sexual harassment. On 7 November, exactly after a year, she exclusively talks to The Quint about what she think about filmmaker Mani Ratnam signing Vairamuthu for his next film.

Mani Ratnam is currently working on his ambitious project Ponniyin Selvan, a period film based on the legendary Tamil literary novel of the same name, written by Kalki Krishnamurthy. The filmmaker ran into controversy when lyricist Vairamuthu in an interview revealed that he will be penning down songs for Mani Ratnam and the music would be composed by A R Rahman.

Soon, fans on social media called out Mani Ratnam and A R Rahman for working with #MeToo accused Vairamuthu. Chinmayi Sripaada also expressed her disappointment on Twitter:

Speaking to The Quint, Chinmayi explained why Mani Ratnam is more to blame than A R Rahman.

"In this entire thing, the person that we need to hold accountable is Mani Ratnam more than A R Rahman. I’m not saying we should let Mr. A R Rahman off the hook, neither am I afraid of asking Mr Rahman questions. Right? Here, I’ll tell you why this is a little complicated. Mr Mani Ratnam is the person who introduced Dilip aka Mr A R Rahman to the world. And when Mr Mani Ratnam comes and tells somebody and he is your best friend, he is your mentor and you’ve known him for the past 30 years, you can’t say no." - Chinmayi Sripaada, Singer

A R Rahman’s studio is the only studio in Chennai that has actually set up an ICC. She says “You can actually see those posters saying that we want to make this place a safe working place and if you have any such problems, please email blah blah blah” But at the same time she is curious as to what made Rahman say yes to this collaboration.

“Some people can actually say that this is a cop out and that man can actually for the stature that he is in, he is an Oscar awardee, etc etc. He can take a stand. I am really curious to know what went on there.” says Chinmayi.

But at the same time she strongly holds Mani Ratnam accountable for signing Vairamuthu because she had made it very clear to him that Vairamathu is a predator.

"But the fact that Mr Mani Ratnam hired Vairamuthu despite the fact that I have been very open and very vocal, to his face. Earlier in the year, when I was hosting an audio launch, I was very vocal about the fact that Mr Vairamuthu is a swine. I have called him that and I have said that I don’t want to have anything to do with him, I don’t want to call him on stage, invite him on stage, neither do I want to praise him. So, it is not as if people here in the industry are not aware and they wanted a Chinmayi to come out and say that Vairamuthu is a molester. He is such an open secret that he will not surprise anybody. And I do hold somebody with the stature of a filmmaker and thinker like Mr Mani Ratnam to go ahead and hire a Vairamuthu." - Chinmayi Sripaada, Singer

She adds, “The thing is Ponniyin Selvan as a literary classic is quite a magnum opus by itself, okay? As a book, as a classic, it is one of the greatest works of writing in fiction, Tamil literary historical fiction. And, it is not as if he’s the only writer left who can write lyrics.”

"You actually don’t even need a lyricist for that, because I think the original writer has written lyrics which only need to be set into tune so I don’t know what Mr. Mani Ratnam is thinking. And I completely hold him accountable for what he has done." - Chinmayi Sripaada, Singer

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