National News

Jayalalithaa’s health critical, AIADMK MLAs meet to sign statement on future leadership

Finance Minister O Panneerselvam was reportedly one of the names touted to be the chief minister's possible successor.

A day after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa suffered a cardiac arrest, legislators from the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam met at Apollo Hospital 11:15 am for around 40 minutes. After the meeting, according to a senior party official who asked to remain unnamed, leaders were told to sign a statement offering support to two leaders from the party to prevent horse-trading in the future.

Former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam was one of the two names on the list, but the source was unsure of the other name, adding that it was between M Thambidurai, the AIADMK’s leader in the Lok Sabha, or state minister Edapadi K Palanisamy. Panneerselvam was given control of Jayalalithaa’s portfolios in October, weeks after she had been hospitalised in Chennai.

Apollo Hospital has announced that the AIADMK leader’s condition is “very critical”, and that she is on life support. “She is on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and other life support systems and is being closely monitored”, the spokesperson added. An ECMO is a technique of providing cardiac and respiratory support to patients whose heart and lungs are unable to provide ample exchange of gases to sustain life.

A team of doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences also reached Chennai on Monday to treat the chief minister. Jayalalithaa had suffered a cardiac arrest a day after her party had said she was well enough to return home.

Security was heightened at and around the Chennai hospital on Monday, as Jayalalithaa’s supporters crowded the area following news of her deteriorating health. The Tamil Nadu director general of police had asked the city’s police teams to be ready to patrol the streets from 7 am on Monday morning in full uniform and with their cars. Several schools in the city remained closed, paramilitary forces are on standby, and security arrangements were strengthened around Jayalalithaa’s home, as well.

Party spokesperson CR Saraswathi told NDTV on Monday morning, “There was an angio procedure this morning. Doctors say ‘don’t worry, Amma will be fine.’” The hospital, however, did not confirm whether Jayalalithaa had undergone any such surgery. Earlier, a specialist from London had been asked to fly down to examine her.

Political leaders, including President Pranab Mukherjee, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, sent out messages wishing her a speedy recovery.

Tamil Nadu Acting Governor C Vidyasagar Rao had visited the hospital late on Sunday. Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh also spoke to Rao, who assured him that there was no law and order crisis in the state. Union Health Minister JP Nadda said he was in constant contact with Apollo Hospitals and the Tamil Nadu government to inquire about Jayalalithaa’s condition, and that a team from Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences had been sent to Chennai to assist with her treatment.

Moreover, a member of Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK died on Sunday after seeing news of her deteriorating heath on Sunday night. Nelagandan was an AIADMK cadre from Cuddalore district, ANI reported.

Jayalalithaa was hospitalised on September 22 after complaining of fever and dehydration. The hospital said she was taken off respiratory on November 18 and moved from the ICU to a general ward on November 19. Her health has been the centre of a great deal of speculation, with the AIADMK and Apollo Hospital consistently putting out statements that her condition is improving, though Opposition parties have questioned this stance. Thousands of her followers have been praying for her recovery.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Swara Bhasker: Sharp objects has to be on the radar of every woman who is tired of being “nice”

The actress weighs in on what she loves about the show.

This article has been written by award-winning actor Swara Bhasker.

All women growing up in India, South Asia, or anywhere in the world frankly; will remember in some form or the other that gentle girlhood admonishing, “Nice girls don’t do that.” I kept recalling that gently reasoned reproach as I watched Sharp Objects (you can catch it on Hotstar Premium). Adapted from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects has been directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who has my heart since he gave us Big Little Lies. It stars the multiple-Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who delivers a searing performance as Camille Preaker; and Patricia Clarkson, who is magnetic as the dominating and dark Adora Crellin. As an actress myself, it felt great to watch a show driven by its female performers.

The series is woven around a troubled, alcohol-dependent, self-harming, female journalist Camille (single and in her thirties incidentally) who returns to the small town of her birth and childhood, Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on two similarly gruesome murders of teenage girls. While the series is a murder mystery, it equally delves into the psychology, not just of the principal characters, but also of the town, and thus a culture as a whole.

There is a lot that impresses in Sharp Objects — the manner in which the storytelling gently unwraps a plot that is dark, disturbing and shocking, the stellar and crafty control that Jean-Marc Vallée exercises on his narrative, the cinematography that is fluid and still manages to suggest that something sinister lurks within Wind Gap, the editing which keeps this narrative languid yet sharp and consistently evokes a haunting sensation.

Sharp Objects is also liberating (apart from its positive performance on Bechdel parameters) as content — for female actors and for audiences in giving us female centric and female driven shows that do not bear the burden of providing either role-models or even uplifting messages. 

Instead, it presents a world where women are dangerous and dysfunctional but very real — a world where women are neither pure victims, nor pure aggressors. A world where they occupy the grey areas, complex and contradictory as agents in a power play, in which they control some reigns too.

But to me personally, and perhaps to many young women viewers across the world, what makes Sharp Objects particularly impactful, perhaps almost poignant, is the manner in which it unravels the whole idea, the culture, the entire psychology of that childhood admonishment “Nice girls don’t do that.” Sharp Objects explores the sinister and dark possibilities of what the corollary of that thinking could be.

“Nice girls don’t do that.”

“Who does?”

“Bad girls.”

“So I’m a bad girl.”

“You shouldn’t be a bad girl.”

“Why not?”

“Bad girls get in trouble.”

“What trouble? What happens to bad girls?”

“Bad things.”

“What bad things?”

“Very bad things.”

“How bad?”

“Terrible!!!”

“Like what?”

“Like….”

A point the show makes early on is that both the victims of the introductory brutal murders were not your typically nice girly-girls. Camille, the traumatised protagonist carrying a burden from her past was herself not a nice girl. Amma, her deceptive half-sister manipulates the nice girl act to defy her controlling mother. But perhaps the most incisive critique on the whole ‘Be a nice girl’ culture, in fact the whole ‘nice’ culture — nice folks, nice manners, nice homes, nice towns — comes in the form of Adora’s character and the manner in which beneath the whole veneer of nice, a whole town is complicit in damning secrets and not-so-nice acts. At one point early on in the show, Adora tells her firstborn Camille, with whom she has a strained relationship (to put it mildly), “I just want things to be nice with us but maybe I don’t know how..” Interestingly it is this very notion of ‘nice’ that becomes the most oppressive and deceptive experience of young Camille, and later Amma’s growing years.

This ‘Culture of Nice’ is in fact the pervasive ‘Culture of Silence’ that women all over the world, particularly in India, are all too familiar with. 

It takes different forms, but always towards the same goal — to silence the not-so-nice details of what the experiences; sometimes intimate experiences of women might be. This Culture of Silence is propagated from the child’s earliest experience of being parented by society in general. Amongst the values that girls receive in our early years — apart from those of being obedient, dutiful, respectful, homely — we also receive the twin headed Chimera in the form of shame and guilt.

“Have some shame!”

“Oh for shame!”

“Shameless!”

“Shameful!”

“Ashamed.”

“Do not bring shame upon…”

Different phrases in different languages, but always with the same implication. Shameful things happen to girls who are not nice and that brings ‘shame’ on the family or everyone associated with the girl. And nice folks do not talk about these things. Nice folks go on as if nothing has happened.

It is this culture of silence that women across the world today, are calling out in many different ways. Whether it is the #MeToo movement or a show like Sharp Objects; or on a lighter and happier note, even a film like Veere Di Wedding punctures this culture of silence, quite simply by refusing to be silenced and saying the not-nice things, or depicting the so called ‘unspeakable’ things that could happen to girls. By talking about the unspeakable, you rob it of the power to shame you; you disallow the ‘Culture of Nice’ to erase your experience. You stand up for yourself and you build your own identity.

And this to me is the most liberating aspect of being an actor, and even just a girl at a time when shows like Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies (another great show on Hotstar Premium), and films like Veere Di Wedding and Anaarkali Of Aarah are being made.

The next time I hear someone say, “Nice girls don’t do that!”, I know what I’m going to say — I don’t give a shit about nice. I’m just a girl! And that’s okay!

Swara is a an award winning actor of the Hindi film industry. Her last few films, including Veere Di Wedding, Anaarkali of Aaraah and Nil Battey Sannata have earned her both critical and commercial success. Swara is an occasional writer of articles and opinion pieces. The occasions are frequent :).

Watch the trailer of Sharp Objects here:

Play

This article was published by the Scroll marketing team with Swara Bhasker on behalf of Hotstar Premium and not by the Scroll editorial team.