Even as an online petition urging action against actor-filmmaker-politician Kamal Haasan for kissing Rekha without her permission on the sets of Punnagai Mannan, the actress has broken her silence on the row.
“I don’t have anything to say on it. I have got calls from a few media organisations. I don’t know why this is becoming so popular on social media now. That was something which happened years ago,” she said.
Rekha added: “They took the scene without my approval, but it worked for the film. I don’t wish to talk about it now to gain popularity out of it. I am busy with acting assignments in movies and web series. I have lot of other responsibilities, too.”
The petiiton by one Mahesh Raghavan says, “A video of Tamil actor Rekha went viral recently, where she narrates an incident of workplace sexual harassment by Actor Kamal Haasan and late director K. Balachander. During the shooting of the 1986 Tamil film “Punnagai Mannan” Rekha was kissed in the middle of a shot without her consent. She mentions she was also never informed about the kissing beforehand. She adds that Kamal Haasan and director K. Balachander were hinting about it to each other before the shot. (Link to the video- https://youtu.be/HQ1-rXju4AI at 10:30)
Rekha narrates how she was afraid her dad would be mad at her for kissing on screen, which hints she might’ve been a minor at the time of filming and not aware of what was happening to her. She also adds that she has exposed this incident multiple times in public. In 2019, Actor Saravanan was ousted from the television show Big Boss, for admitting that he was involved in molesting women in the bus, several years back. We all rightly praised Vijay Television for that action.
We hope Vijay Television/Hostar will do the right thing by cancelling the deals with actor Kamal Haasan. We also press that actor Kamal Haasan come out in public, acknowledge and apologize for this issue. Whether actor Rekha considers this harassment or she wants to make a complaint against Kamal Haasan is left to her. But since the issue is out in public, and in an era of #MeToo and constant efforts to raise awareness about sexual offenses against women, names as big as actor Kamal Haasan and director K. Balachander may not go unaffected. This will tarnish the hopes of the future generation that strives to create a better world, to create awareness against casual, sexual, direct, indirect, verbal and all other types of harassment against women.
We hope this incident will set an example against the repeating harassment cases in the Tamil film industry and elsewhere.”