Kerala: Women actors slam Mohanlal for supporting sexual assaulter

The Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) slam actor Mohanlal-led Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) over the way the kidnapping case of an actress is being handled

NH Web Desk

The Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) slammed actor Mohanlal-led Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) over the way the kidnapping case of an actress was being handled in Kochi on Saturday.

Actor Dileep has been accused in a kidnapping and assault case that occurred in February last year. The actor was in jail for 85 days and is now out on bail. The WCC alleges that AMMA has not supported the victim, whereas Dileep has got all the backing.

Leading the charge, actor Revathy said they were shocked to hear Mohanlal address them as ‘mere actresses’. This prompted all the actors present—Beena Paul, Padmapriya Janakiraman, Parvathy T, Revathy, Anjali Menon—to give an introduction of the movies and the years they have spent in the industry.

"It really hurt us very much... he could have mentioned us by our name. We have now realized that AMMA's executive committee is taking us for a ride and is not serious about the victim getting justice in the kidnapping case," said an emotional Revathy.

She added that AMMA should be handled by responsible people. Trouble stared soon after Mohanlal took over as AMMA President in June as he wasted no time in welcoming sexual assualt-accused Dileep back into the AMMA fold, prompting leading actresses, Rima Kallingal, Remya Nambisan and Geetu Mohandas to quit AMMA in protest. Another 14 members announced their decision to quit, citing lack of fairness.

Earlier, a letter sent by actor and general secretary of AMMA Edavela Babu to the three women actors—Revathy, Padmapriya and Parvathy—stated that the AMMA executive committee did not want to take a decision on the expulsion of Dileep from the group, instead they have delegated this duty to the General Body.

In an attempt to support Dileep, the letter claimed that the decision to reinstate Dileep was taken by a majority decision during a General Body meeting on June 24, 2018 and therefore, a decision as to whether to suspend him or not should also be taken by the General Body itself.

This letter and attitude irked the women members who asserted that AMMA was being evasive about its decision to reinstate Dileep, who stands accused of being the mastermind behind the plot to abduct and assault a Malayalam actor in February last year.

The statement comes after the WCC members met with AMMA on August 7 to question about the status of the assault-accused actor Dileep in the body.

The WCC said that they had no faith in the AMMA executive council. Actor Parvathy said they received legal counsel from Vrinda Grover on how Dileep could be suspended from AMMA. However, the AMMA EC was not interested in doing so and wanted to seek more “advice”

The WCC said that they had no faith in the AMMA executive council. Actor Parvathy said they received legal counsel from Vrinda Grover on how Dileep could be suspended from AMMA. However, the AMMA EC was not interested in doing so and wanted to seek more "advice". At the August 7 meeting, president Mohanlal had supposedly been in a big hurry to wrap up the proceedings because he had some other "important" event to go for.

"When actor Thilakan was thrown out of AMMA, they did not call any GB (General Body meeting). We want safe spaces. This makes me remember a young woman who had come running to me and begging me to rescue her many years ago. It is etched in my memory. I don't want that repeated. We want safe spaces," emphasised Revathy.

"I will not name her, but things are bad in the industry," said Revathy. She said that none should take the actresses lightly, and that they would continue to expose the goings-on in the industry.

Beena Paul, who is vice-chairman of the state-run Kerala State Chalachitra Acadmey, said their intention is not to shame the industry. "There are so many stories of victimization... slowly these will come out," said Paul.

The WCC was formed last year by women drawn from various sectors of the film industry to fight for their cause, after they found that AMMA was not protecting their interests.

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