Filmmaker Liju Krishna, who is set to make his directorial debut with the upcoming Malayalam film Padavettu, was taken into police custody on Sunday, after a crew member accused him of rape.
Speaking to Silverscreen India, a police officer associated with Kakkanad Infopark station confirmed the director’s arrest. The case was registered based on a complaint filed by a young woman who had worked with him on the upcoming film.
The director was arrested by the Kakkanad Infopark police from the shooting location of Padavettu in his hometown, Kannur.
Women in Cinema Collective (WCC), an organisation of women working in the Malayalam film industry, has put out a statement condemning this heinous act. In the social media post, WCC noted that this is yet another shocking incident of sexual abuse, even as the film industry and the government are still discussing the implementation of the POSH Act and whether the Justice Hema Committee report should be made public. “WCC stands with the survivor and salutes her courage in speaking up,” the organisation added.
The WCC also put forth a couple of demands, namely the suspension of the accused’s membership in all film bodies and that he be barred from working in the Malayalam film industry, until the verdict is out.
“WCC reiterates the need for immediate implementation of POSH Act in Malayalam film productions and a zero tolerance policy to sexual harassment across the industry,” the statement concluded.
The WCC was formed in the wake of the 2017 female actor abduction and assault case, in which actor Dileep has been charged as the main conspirator. The organisation aims to promote a safer working environment for women in the Malayalam film industry.
Padavettu stars Aditi Balan, Nivin Pauly and Manju Warrier in pivotal roles. It is backed by Sunny Wayne Productions. Krishna had previously written and directed a theatre play, titled Moment Just Before Death, which was also produced by Sunny Wayne.
The production of Padavettu, which was expected to release this year, has currently been halted following Krishna’s arrest.