It was 2005 when Leena, as a television anchor, had interviewed the filmmaker when he offered to drop her on the way in his car. Soon enough, he snatched her phone from her, locked the doors of the car, and forced her to come to his house.
“He pressed the lock button of the car, snatched and threw my mobile somewhere inside. Susi Ganesan threatened me to come to his house and I was scared. Later, the small knife which I had in my handbag (I always carry one since college) helped me and finally, I was able to get out of the car. I didn’t tell this story to my family members because they wouldn’t have allowed me to go to work anymore. I was also afraid that a known filmmaker like him might end my career using his influence,” she narrated in a series of tweets.
I am gathering courage to write more of my experiences.Let me start with https://t.co/9G1IKtuGis director who locked me up in the car when I started as a television anchor is Susi Ganesan.Hope more voices join me to be heard. #metoo https://t.co/GKPaJCQ4Df
— Leena Manimekalai (@LeenaManimekali) October 14, 2018
சுசி கணேசனின் மறுப்பே அவரைக் காட்டிக் கொடுக்கிறது. என் சொந்த வாழ்க்கை என் மனதிற்குகந்த மிக மகிழ்ச்சியான வாழ்க்கை. அதன் வெற்றி தோல்வியை அவர் எப்படி தீர்மானிக்க முடியும். கவிஞராக என் இடமென்ன என்று என் படைப்புகளும் இலக்கிய வாசக உலகமும் சொல்லும். #metoo
— Leena Manimekalai (@LeenaManimekali) October 16, 2018
Incidentally, Leena had shared her ordeal last year but no one took cognisance of it. Susi Ganesan is a state award-winning filmmaker known for directing films such as ‘Virumbigeren’, ‘Thiruttu Payale’, ‘Kanthasamy’, and ‘Shortcut Romeo’.
Leena has since said that she will address the media on Tuesday evening.
The last ten days have been an important one for women in India, marking a watershed moment where women have been outing their harassers with their identity and anonymously, too. While this is being dubbed as India’s #MeToo and #TimesUp movement that was originally started by student Raya Sarkar’s list of sexual harassers in academia (LoSHA) last year, this year the moment gained more attention a week ago when former actress Tanushree Dutta shared how veteran actor Nana Patekar abused and harassed her ten years ago.
Ever since then, women have been opening up about workplace harassment with several names of prominent figures being added to the list.
In Kollywood alone, prominent names such as lyricist Vairamuthu, actor MR Radha, and singer Karthik have allegations levelled against them for sexual misconduct.