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Kushboo's remarks on free sex and women

Last updated: 27 March, 2010
M R Venkatesh: 22:32 IST

It all started with the popular film star Kushboo expressing her views on pre-marital sex in an interview to the Tamil edition of a National magazine in September 2005.

Her alleged remarks on free sex, women’s bid to overcome old societal taboos and virginity notions, instantly sparked off protests as an “affront” on Tamil culture, womanhood and chastity.

Self-appointed guardians of Tamil culture, notably the OBC Vanniyars-based Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) of Dr S Ramadoss and the Dalit outfit, Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi (VCK) led by Thol Thirumavalavan, hit the streets, questioning her credentials to make such “demeaning remarks” against Tamil society women, and implying ‘yes’ to free sex.
The state-wide protests burning Kushboo’s effigies, ridiculing her by parading her images on donkeys and turning even violent at places, threatened to snowball into a confrontation between a section of filmdom and the moral police-playing political parties demanding a public apology from her. Actress Suhasini Manirathnam tried coming to Kushboo’s rescue by explaining what the latter meant but was caught in the whirlpool herself.

Soon, PMK’s legal and women’s wing functionaries began to file criminal complaints against Kushboo in their respective area magistrate courts and was backed by the VCK. As many as 22 criminal complaints were filed, 12 of which were by the PMK functionaries, two by the VCK and the rest by some NGOs on the ground that the actor sought to ‘defame’ Tamil womanhood and chastity.

Having to respond to summons from 22 courts in different parts of Tamil Nadu is sufficient to drive anyone nuts. Kushboo, though, clarified her remarks with a quasi-apology, saying that it was not intended to hurt Tamil pride or womanhood. She said her remarks on free sex and pre-marital relationships were only to drive home the perils of having “unprotected sex” in the backdrop of massive efforts to prevent the spread of ‘HIV/AIDS’.
Even as the agitations continued – Kushboo’s vehicle was even attacked when she went to a Mettur court in response to one of the summons -, sources close to the actress said that she quickly moved the Madras High Court urging that all the criminal complaints against her be quashed.

Case still on
The High Court rejected her plea but directed that all the 22 complaints against Kushboo be transferred to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate in Chennai to facilitate speedy disposal. In 2008, Kushboo appealed against the High Court’s order in the Supreme Court where the case is now on.

Senior woman advocate, Pinky Anand has been arguing Kushboo’s case in the apex court.

Since all the criminal complaints filed against her and Kushboo’s interview to the magazine and another local Newspaper here were in Tamil, they had to be translated into English when she went on appeal to the apex court. That was one reason for the proceedings to drag on. “We are holding our hands tight until the judgment comes,” the sources added.

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