The South film industry is currently experiencing some turbulence after Tamil singer and radio personality Suchitra Karthik’s Twitter handle posted explicit photos of several movie stars, among them actor Dhanush. The pictures were later deleted and RJ Suchitra, as she is known, claimed her account had been hacked. Hours later, another set of pictures appeared.
Confusing details have emerged from the controversy, including a video from Suchitra’s husband in which he blamed the tweets on his wife’s “emotional condition.” He later deleted the video. Suchitra Karthik’s tweets have been criticized by her colleagues, some of whom believe she has a grudge against Dhanush. An investigation is being conducted into the matter.
Here are 10 facts you need to know about the controversy:
1. At the end of February, Suchitra’s Twitter account posted a picture of a bruise on her arm and accused Dhanush’s security of having manhandled her. Her tweet read, “This is Suchi, I’m back. I’m safe and I’m ready to tell everyone what a lousy game Dhanush has played.” Then, last week, several private photos of actors were posted with the hashtag #Suchileaks. Those pictured included Dhanush, Trisha Krishnan, RJ Chinmayi and Hansika Motwani. Several of these photos appeared to have been taken at a party.
2. The photos were deleted and Suchitra, speaking to a TV channel, said, “My Twitter account has been hacked and I didn’t know that several private photos of celebrities had been posted on my page until Aditi Ravindranath, a friend of Dhanush, called me on Friday morning. I’ve hired a private investigator to find out who’s behind all this.” Later, more photos appeared.
3. Some tweets appeared to accuse Suchitra’s colleagues of the ‘casting couch’ – asking for sexual favours in exchange for professional advancement.
4. Suchitra’s husband Karthik, a stand-up comic and actor, released a video on his Facebook in which he claimed that the account had not been hacked at all. “It is indicative of a certain emotional state and a condition that she’s in and all of us in the family are trying our best to help her and address this situation,” he said, asking that the media treat Suchitra as they would “a family member.” The video was later removed.
5. In place of Karthik’s video, this Facebook post appeared that retracted what he said earlier: “The last few days have been very disturbing for us as a family as Suchi’s twitter account was hacked. Today we have retrieved her account. All the tweets published last few days were not by Suchi and is completely false. I personally apologise to all the people concerned as I understand the stress it would have caused them. I request the media to show sensitivity and not sensationalise this. Thank you all for the support.”
6. Speaking to a Tamil channel, Suchitra claimed she and Karthik were divorcing and that she had been taken to hospital without her consent. “Karthik is a wonderful person. He has virtues of Lord Rama. I know we are going through a divorce. It’s very painful for all of us concerned but it is due to some unsolvable problems. I was hospitalised. I was forcibly taken to the hospital but it was connected to my divorce,” she said.
7. Dhanush, who is married to superstar Rajinikanth’s daughter Aishwaryaa, has not commented on Suchitra’s tweets. His sister Vimala Geetha addressed the controversy in a Facebook post, writing, “Twitter has become a media where anyone can talk anything or post anything and it’s disheartening to see cheap, fake porn videos on a platform where even a 12-year-old has accounts. And the worst thing is the number of people who ask for such perverted videos.” She has now deactivated her social media accounts.
8. Singer Chinmayi Sripaada, who was pictured in the private photos tweeted as part as #Suchileaks, has posted a series of tweets in which she said that she was told by Karthik that Suchitra was “unwell” and having “an emotional meltdown.” She also said that “whatever is going on in her account right now is wrong,” adding that Suchitra had blocked her and that her “conscience is clear.”
9. Others have not been as forgiving. Actor-director P Samuthirakani tweeted: “Someone needs mental rehabilitation and treatment, unnecessary move to destroy actor and actress’ name and pride. Use social media properly.”
10. Actor Vishal who heads the South Indian Artistes’ Association said “The videos and photographs are fake. We are cracking down on who’s uploading these. Suchitra is on rehabilitation.”