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AR Rahman asked me if Chinmayi's allegations against Vairamuthu were true, says sister Reihana

In an interview to a Tamil television channel, Reihana spoke at length about the #MeToo movement in general and Chinmayi's allegations against Vairamuthu in particular.

Manigandan KR

Music director and singer AR Reihana has disclosed that her brother music director AR Rahman was shocked by singer Chinmayi Sripaada's #MeToo allegations against lyricist Vairamuthu.

In an interview to a Tamil television channel, Reihana spoke at length about the #MeToo movement in general and Chinmayi's allegations against Vairamuthu in particular.

She said, "I have been seeing what has been happening. I support this #MeToo movement. I support it because I thought and admired Suchi's guts when she leaked all those videos. She leaked information on big, big people. Next, when I saw Sri Reddy, I felt sorry for her. Why agree for it and then get used and then say no? But what I thought was commendable was the fact that despite all this happening to her, she was intent on bringing it out. That is super. I think such harassers must be weeded out from everywhere."

She added, "A lady comes out only to earn for her family. She does not come for selfish reasons usually. Why do they do this to women? It is a social taboo and I was thinking this should be reduced everywhere. I am okay with Chinmayi doing this. There is only one problem however. This is something that happened 15 years ago. It should have been dealt with then. It should have been spoken about with everybody then."

"She should have acted in such a way that this harassment should not have been allowed to be repeated. Whether it is true or not is another thing altogether," iterated Reihana.

The music director, who is also the mother of music director GV Prakash, further said, "I believe her allegations because I have heard the same sort of allegations from two other people. It is true that he is a big man and that he is an identity for Tamils, but whatever it is, if it was addressed at an early stage, it wouldn't have grown to this extent. Allowing him to grow to such an extent is a big mistake and I am telling this to all the girls who have been affected by him. Whoever they are, wherever they are. Then, what I cannot accept is inviting somebody you hate to your wedding and falling at his feet to take his blessing. As far as I am concerned, if you do not like somebody, you don't like them. That's all. Why acting and all [sic]?"

To a question on rumours that Rahman would not give opportunities to Chinmayi now, Reihana said, "Usually, Rahman does not give opportunities to controversial people. But I do not know. I am not him. Not all five fingers are the same. My son's decisions are different, my decisions are different, Rahman's decisions are different and my mother's decisions are different. They each have an individuality [sic]."

To another question on the viewpoint that these allegations could have been levelled against somebody to defame them and to settle scores, Reihana said, "I don't think what Chinmayi did comes under this category.The only thing I wish to question is why she did it so late? Why should you tolerate it for 15 years is my question. Otherwise, I have heard the same complaints about the same person from others."

When the anchor asked, "Are you saying Vairamuthu has harassed other women apart from Chinmayi?", she replied, "I don't know how to say this about him. He is such a senior person. But yes, I will say this, I have heard about it. It is like an open secret in the industry."

Everybody in the industry knew?

"Rahman has worked with Vairamuthu for so long but he asks me,'Is what Chinmayi saying true?' What do I tell him?," she said. The anchor then asked, "Oh, so even Rahman was shocked?"

She replied, "Yes. He did not know anything about this. He came and asked me, 'Is all this true?' He very innocently said, 'What is this? Why is Chinmayi saying everybody's names as she pleases? What if somebody commits suicide?' He has no idea about what is happening in the industry. He does not like gossiping and will not talk about anybody. So, I cannot go and tell him about anybody. Rahman is against gossiping. He does not encourage gossiping. He'll say, 'Let's concentrate on our work. What are we going to gain by talking about others?' Wrong news will never go to him."

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Sexual harassment