In a shocking turn of events at the 53rd Kerala State Film Awards held at the Nishagandhi Auditorium, Malayalam film actor Alencier Ley Lopez stirred up a storm of controversy with a misogynistic remark during his acceptance speech.
Alencier, who was honoured with a Special Jury Award for his outstanding performance in the film 'Appan,' delivered a comment that has left the industry and the audience aghast.
The Unsettling Remark
Alencier was felicitated with the prestigious award from Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. However, what followed was a moment of profound insensitivity. In a tone that can only be described as regrettably antiquated, Alencier quipped, "Do not tempt us by giving woman trophies. In a state with a manly chief minister, give us a sculpture with man's strength."
The Kerala State Film Awards traditionally bestow sculptures as awards, with these sculptures taking the form of a dancing woman. The choice of this symbol is imbued with cultural significance, celebrating the grace and artistry of the female form.
However, Alencier's comments seem to dismiss this symbolism and instead advocate for a more masculine representation. The incident at the Kerala State Film Awards brings attention to the symbolic representations used in awards ceremonies. In the Indian Film Industry, one of the most prestigious awards is the Filmfare Award. The statuette, often referred to as "The Black Lady," depicts a woman in a dance pose, symbolising grace and artistry.
Special Jury Mention Also Questioned
Not content with his initial remark, Alencier proceeded to address Gautam Ghose, the head of the jury of the Kerala State Film Awards. He argued that the winners of the Special Jury mention also deserved a golden sculpture as their recognition was 'special.' This additional request further highlighted Alencier's dissatisfaction with the existing awards system.
Alencier didn't stop there. He expressed his discontent with the cash award, asserting that it was inadequate. In a candid moment, he stated, "...do not insult us by giving Rs 25,000, please increase the reward." This statement further deepened the controversy surrounding his overall behaviour at the event.
Reactions from the Malayalam film industry
The film industry was quick to respond to Alencier's remarks. Sheethal Shyam, a prominent figure, commented while in a conversation with a media outlet, "Respect Alencier's performance but needs tweaks in character." She added, "If he had such hate for the statuette, he should have left it there. Let him wait only for the Oscars."
Actor Santhosh Keezhattoor expressed his dismay on Facebook where he wrote a post in Malayalam which states that the Alencier has shown a lack of culture with such a statement. State Award-winning filmmaker Shruthi Sharanyam, who was present during the ceremony, also flayed Alencier’s comments and said: “During his inaugural address, the Chief Minister himself (Pinarayi Vijayan) had emphasised that films that undermine women’s empowerment and celebrate patriarchy should not be promoted.” The Malayalam film industry as a whole expressed disappointment with his remarks.
The Wider Implications
Alencier Ley Lopez's misogynistic comment has ignited a fervent debate about gender equality and respect within the film industry. It serves as a stark reminder that even in the 21st century, regressive attitudes can find their way into the limelight. His words have prompted discussions not only about the appropriateness of his remarks but also about the broader issue of gender sensitivity in the entertainment world.
Alencier Ley Lopez's comments have undoubtedly left a mark, serving as a poignant reminder that gender equality and respect should always be at the forefront of our collective consciousness. The incident highlights the need for a more profound examination of the industry's values and a commitment to fostering an environment of inclusivity and respect for all.
Views expressed by the author are their own