‘Memories of a Machine’ criticised for normalising child abuse
Shailaja Pandidala, the director-cum-scriptwriter of YouTube short film Memories of a Machine, has come under fire over the plot of the film, which critics say normalises child abuse.
The short film, Memories of a Machine, explores the notion of sexuality through human moral and instincts as a woman narrates her first sexual experience as a curious young girl and her quirky struggles in discovering “self” amid the traditionally bound system.
In the film, the protagonist, played by Malayali actress Kani Kusruti, narrates to her husband/partner/best friend her first sexual encounter when she was eight years old. She tells him how a peon in her school ‘touched’ her and she got an arousal. When he asks her why she kept it a secret for many years, she tells him: “Perhaps I wanted it to happen again, hence I kept it as a secret.”
The man then asks her whether she feels angry at him now, to which she says ‘No’.
With a ‘fuck’, he says: “Do you think whatever happened was wrong?” And she replies: “I don’t know if it was right or wrong. At that time it was sexual exploration for me. I liked the way he touched me and he stopped when I did not want it. I am not concluding that it’s right or even wrong for that matter. I don’t think it is wrong. That’s all.”
Some viewers, after watching the 10-minute film, opine the stance of the protagonist perpetuates the dangerous notion that when a man molests or abuses a young child and the child enjoys it, then, there is nothing wrong about it.
They fear that such a stance might encourage paedophiles and give them a justification for their act.
N.S. Madhavan @NSMlive tweets: ‘Memories of a machine‘ is a short film directed by&acted in by sensitive souls, but @YouTube should take it down as it pardons paedophelia.
Bharata @Dauhshanti tweets: Degeneracy of allah’s, christ’s and red devil’s own country in action
On the film’s Facebook page, Ajmal Mhd posted: … Girls will not have orgasm and they will not enjoy at that age. It encourages pedophiles and create bad impact in the mindset and society. Picturising a little girl very badly just for the purpose for marketing it among the perverts….
However, more than brickbats, the film has garnered positive reviews, especially for Kani’s performance.
Sharanya Manivannan @ranyamanivannan tweets: What an amazing performance in this short film about sexuality. So natural you won’t believe she’s an actor.
Neon Ray posted on Facebook: A hilarious moment which brings lots of passionate and deeply attached feelings of our own existence and reality. Shailaja ,your short film was a very new experience for me. You deliberately left lots of questions in my mind which we had often tend to look….
Director Shailaja Pandidala, too, through a YouTube video has tried to dispel the notion that she supports child abuse or that it is a real story.
Turning down the criticism, Shailaja Pandidala told Narada News: “I never support child abuse nor have I tried to romanticise child abuse through my movie. The movie aims to show how an eight-year-old girl was first introduced to sex and her natural thought towards it was that of pleasure. It is immaterial whether that introduction was by an adult or a peer.”
“I know the danger. That is why in the movie, the man says ‘Don’t tell this to a paedophile’ as a final word on the incident,” she says.