Film-maker Thangar Bachchan has harshly criticized actresses and some film-makers with ‘casteist’ surnames suffixing their actual names. Some other voices, besides that of Bachchan, have also been heard in recent times in the industry against the trend of actresses and film-makers retaining their casteist surnames along with their names.
Thangar, known for his outspoken stance on matters of emotional interest, has come down heavily on actresses with surnames like ‘Menon’, ‘Aiyar’, ‘Reddy’, ‘Shetty’, ‘Nair’, etc. Kollywood has long been ‘invaded’ by actress from the neighbouring Kerala in huge numbers some of whom tend to retain their caste-based surnames.
“I don’t know what message actresses like Navya Nair, Swetha Menon, Nithya Menon, Janani Aiyar Sameera Reddy, Meghna Naidu and Shilpa Shetty want to convey to others by retaining their casteist surnames. Tamil Nadu has always stood against casteism in any form and in every field. That being the case, the names of many of today’s actresses appear to be taking us to the past,” says Bachchan.
Even directors Gautham Menon and Rajiv Menon are guilty of following this trend. Gautham, when he started off almost a decade back, didn’t have the surname of ‘Menon’ in the title credits of his films but added it after he became popular, it is pointed out. Thangar cited the example of caste-based surnames that have disappeared from the names of many streets and roads in the state.
“Producers and directors should unite on this issue and make it a point not to sign up actresses who have caste-based surnames for their films,” thunders Thangar.
Is anybody listening?