"Someone asked me, 'Haven't you died yet?'"
Rajini Chandy was trolled after she posted pictures from her glamorous photoshoot onto Facebook.
The photos show the 69-year-old Malayalam film actress dressed in a jumpsuit, long dresses, a pair of distressed jeans and a short denim skirt.
Photographer Athira Joy came up with the idea of doing the photoshoot.
Athira said what attracted her to Rajini was how she was so different from her own mother.
She said: “Indian women spend their lives caged in this system of marriage and raising a family. Most give up on life once they reach 60. They become nannies to their grandchildren.”
Athira added that her mother is “a typical Indian woman who suffers from all sorts of health issues that 60 plus women face”.
“But Rajini is different – she takes care of herself, she’s fit, she’s bold, she’s beautiful, she’s fashionable. She’s 69, but in her mind, she’s 29, just like me.”
Athira came to Rajini with the idea in December 2020 and the actress admitted she found the proposal interesting.
Rajini said: “But I told her I’d do it if my husband approved. So, she asked him for permission and he said: ‘It’s her life. If she wants to do it, I’m fine with that’.”
The clothes were hired from a boutique and Rajini admitted that she was “shocked” when she saw them.
“I hadn’t dressed up in such a sexy way in a long time. But once I wore them, I was okay.”
The photos were posted online and Rajini Chandy received lots of praise.
Many described her as “bold”, “stunning”, “hot” and “beautiful”. Others complimented her for her “confidence”. Some people even found her phone number and called her to send her their compliments.
However, some people took the opportunity to criticise her.
Rajini told the BBC: “I was called a slut. Someone asked me, ‘Haven’t you died yet?’ Another suggested that I ‘sit at home and read the Bible. This is your age to pray, not show off your body’.
“Yet another person said I was an old auto-rickshaw and even if I got a new coat of paint, I’d still be old.”
The trolls are particularly angered by two pictures. One shows her wearing distressed jeans and sitting with her legs apart. The other shows her wearing a short denim dress.
“It’s worse because it shows my legs. But I have good legs, so it didn’t really bother me.”
She later admitted that the abuse started to affect her, especially because most of the negative comments have come from women.
“A lot of young men find sexiness in older women disturbing, they don’t want to think of them as an object of desire.”
“But what I found surprising was that most of the negative comments were made by women.
“I think it’s born out of jealousy – women in their 40s and 50s who don’t take care of themselves cannot deal with an older woman still being able to flaunt her good looks.”
Rajini Chandy did not expect the photos to go viral nor did she expect to be trolled. On her reason for doing the shoot, she said:
“When we were about to post the pictures, I thought people won’t even be interested to see it. I didn’t expect such a reaction.
“I decided to do the shoot as a motivation for elderly people and prove to them that they still can enjoy their life in the way they want.
“For that, I don’t know why people are making such negative comments. If you don’t like the pictures, ignore it. What is the need for making such offensive comments? A group of people who don’t even know me are making negative comments about me.
“Why don’t they use that time for their own family or do something good for society?”