Women in Cinema Collective Attacks AMMA, Accuses it of Siding With Actor Accused of Molestation
The WCC members alleged that despite being the only body in the Malayalam film industry, AMMA was acting against the interests of women and was not providing a "safe place" for them to discuss their issues.
File photo of WCC members with Kerala CM.
Kochi: Kerala-based Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) on Saturday launched a scathing attack on the AMMA (Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes) over its decision to reinstate actor Dileep, who is accused of abducting and sexually assaulting an actress.
In a press conference in Kochi, WCC members came down heavily on AMMA president Mohan Lal and the organisation for showing bias. “The accused is inside the organisation, while the survivor has been thrown out. Is this what we call justice?” asked senior actress and WCC leader Revathy.
Revathy also spoke about an incident when a 17-year-old knocked at her door in the middle of the night asking for her help during a film’s shooting. However, the actor refused to divulge details about the incident, saying she could not reveal her name without her consent.
After AMMA took the decision to reinstate actor Dileep citing by-laws and technical reasons, the survivor and three other actors — Rima Kallingal, Remya Nambeesan and Geethu Mohandas — had tendered their resignation in protest.
The CWC members had, in a meeting with AMMA leadership on August 7, asked about the action that would be initiated to bring back the actress who was sexually assaulted along with others who had resigned. The members said none of their concerns were addressed in a letter which was sent to them after the meeting.
Actress Parvathy said the leadership of AMMA had asked its members to not speak to the media regarding the issue.
“We will keep exposing the mask of happy family. People think we will resign and go and after that, everything will be quiet. But we are not going anywhere,” said Parvathy.
She added that they would fight against the injustice that has been meted out to them for years.
Parvathy said as the ‘MeToo’ movement was gaining momentum in Bollywood, it was time that the Malayalam film industry also stood by the survivor.
She also attacked the director and general secretary of Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA), B Unnikrishnan, over his decision to direct his next movie with Dileep as the lead.
One of the junior actresses, Archana Padmini, recounted her unpleasant experience at the hands of a production controller during the shooting of a film and complained about FEKA’s laxity towards her complaint.
Also in attendance were Bina Paul Venugopal, deputy director of the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy, director Anjali Menon, script writer Deedi Damodaran and actresses Rima Kallingal, Ramya Nambeesan and Sajitha Madhathil.
The WCC members alleged that despite being the only body in the Malayalam film industry, AMMA was acting against the interests of women and was not providing a "safe place" for them to discuss their issues. They, however, vowed to continue their fight in making the industry more gender inclusive.
Women in Cinema Collective is a platform of women actors, directors, script writers and singers of the Malayalam industry that seeks to safeguard women's rights in the industry. It was formed soon after a popular actress was sexually assaulted in February 2017. The accused actor, Dileep, was imprisoned for over 80 days and is presently out on bail.
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