AMMA under fire as support swells for actors' rebellion

Actor Dileep being welcomed by a cheering crowd comprising his fans and friends as he comes out of Aluva sub-jail, in Kochi. (PTI Photo)

A day after four women actors resigned from Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA) protesting its decision to reinstate actor Dileep, accused of conspiracy in the abduction and sexual assault of a fellow actor, support continued to pour in for their rebellion.

On Thursday, Dileep said he did not want to be involved in any association until his innocence was proved.

Political leaders including ministers in the CPM-led government voiced support to the four actors — including the assault survivor — who are members of Women in Cinema Collective (WCC).

Health Minister K K Shailaja and Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty backed the survivor while PWD Minister G Sudhakaran launched a scathing attack on Dileep and Malayalam film industry’s power centres.

Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac said concerns raised by WCC were important and slammed the “vulgar” male dominance in the industry.

The survivor and actors Geethu Mohandas, Rima Kallingal and Remya Nambeesan resigned from AMMA three days after the association decided to bring Dileep — eighth accused in the case — back into its fold, a decision the WCC termed anti-women.

The controversy also comes with a political context, as three members of AMMA — actor-MP Innocent and actor-MLAs Mukesh and K B Ganesh Kumar — are part of the ruling Left Front. The members haven’t made public statements on the issue even as pressure mounted on AMMA to clarify on WCC’s charges.

Kerala Women’s Commission chairperson M C Josephine said actor Mohanlal, the new president of AMMA, should have acted on the issue with greater responsibility. In Kochi, members of the CPI-affiliated All India Youth Federation burned Mohanlal’s effigy as part of a protest.

Call for emergency meeting

The WCC on Thursday wrote to AMMA seeking an emergency executive general body meeting to discuss issues including reinstatement of Dileep and measures the association is taking to ensure that women feel “more included and safe”. Actors Revathi, Padmapriya and Parvathy Thiruvoth said in the letter that it was “shocking” to note that the crucial decision of reinstating Dileep was taken at a general body meeting without listing it on the agenda.

According to the prosecution, Dileep hired the prime accused in the case – Sunilkumar aka ‘Pulsar’ Suni – who abducted and sexually assaulted the actress in a moving car in Kochi, in February 2017.

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