Chalachithra Academy Chairperson Ranjith has landed in a controversy after sharing the dais with actor Dileep at the Film Exhibitors’ United Organization of Kerala’s (FEUOK) general body meeting that was held in Kochi, on Thursday.
Dileep is currently facing trial as the chief conspirator in the 2017 female actor abduction and assault case.
Earlier, Ranjith had invited actor Bhavana Menon, the survivor of the assault, as a surprise guest at the 26th edition of the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK). He had also hailed the survivor as a ‘female symbol of fight’ at the event.
However, on Thursday, Ranjith shared the stage with Dileep at the FEUOK event. Speaking at the event, Dileep had appreciated him for efficiently handling all responsibilities as the Chairperson of Kerala’s Chalachithra Academy.
When questions were raised about him sharing the dais with the accused, Ranjith clarified to the media that he had only participated in the program as he was invited by FUEOK Secretary Sumesh.
He said, “I had not gone to Dileep’s house nor did I go with him to a restaurant to have a cup of coffee. Even if I did, it is not necessary to criticise me. For instance, if Dileep and I happened to be on the same flight, should I run out of it?”
Ranjith added that he has known Dileep for a long time, and although he is a representative of the government, he will continue to work with film exhibitors. He also mentioned that the government has given him the freedom to interact with his colleagues in the industry.
This is not the first time that Ranjith’s stand on this matter has been called into question. When he had invited the survivor to IFFK, several had criticised the move as a mere publicity stunt and pointed out that Ranjith had allegedly visited Dileep, when the actor was in jail for the same case.
Responding to this, Ranjith had told the press earlier that he did not intentionally visit Dileep in jail and had only accompanied actor Suresh Krishna. He also clarified that he has not taken any stand in favour of Dileep.