Tamil actress Rekha’s recent revelation about an “unplanned kiss” by veteran actor Kamal Haasan during the shoot of the 1986 film ‘Punnagai Mannan’, has stirred up a social media storm.
Many on Twitter have said that Haasan should apologise to the actress for allegedly forcing the kiss on the actress without her consent when she was just 16.
“I’ve said this a hundred times. They shot the scene without me knowing about it. People ask me the same question and I’m fed up of answering it,” Rekha told The News Minute in a recent interview, insisting Haasan and the late Tamil filmmaker K Balachander’s tricked her into doing the scene.
“The kiss didn’t look ugly or aggressive on screen. There was a need for it, but I was a very young girl and I didn’t know about it. He (director K Balachander) said, ‘Kamal, close your eyes! You remember what I told you, right?’ and Kamal said that he did. Then we had to jump when he said 1, 2, 3... we kissed and then jumped. It was only when I watched it in theatres that I realised it had such a huge impact,” she said.
Rekha said she was 16 years old when she did the film, after completing grade 10. She also talked about being told that the Censor Board in India would not approve of the kiss.
“They continued after that shot. We also had a location shift. Suresh Krissna and Vasanth were the associate directors and I told them I wasn’t informed about the kiss and that I wouldn’t have agreed to it. But they told me to think of it as a big king kissing a small child. They told me it wouldn’t be passed by the Censor. I asked them what the Censor was,” Rekha added.
During a time when the world has woken up to the #MeToo movement, Rekha says nobody believes her when she says the kiss happened without her consent and that Haasan is aware of it.
“Only he and the unit there can confirm what I’ve said. Balachander sir is no more. Only those who were there at the shoot know that the kiss happened without my consent,” she said.
In the interview, the actress further alleged that neither Balachander nor Haasan apologised to her after the scene.
“Why would they apologise? The film was a superhit! I got many films after that, too, with Ramarajan and Ilaiyaraaja, like ‘Namma Ooru Pattukaran’. We were all so busy in those days, going from one schedule to another,” Rekha recalled.
She added that she would never have agreed to kiss if she was aware of the same in advance.
Rekha said she never demanded an apology from either Haasan nor the late Balachander over the incident but, as the news spread, sections of social media said the actor should say apologise for his alleged actions.
“I don’t know about getting an apology but it is a fact that I wouldn’t have said yes to the kiss at that time. They just did the scene suddenly. It’s over now and I don’t want to revisit it,” she added.