Actor Mohanlal took charge as the president of AMMA (Association of Malayalam Movie Actors) in the annual general body meeting held on Sunday. He replaced veteran actor Innocent, who is also a CPI-M-backed Lok Sabha member from Chalakuddy. Innocent led AMMA for 15 years before announcing his decision to step down in March 2018.
Mohanlal, the highest billed actor in the industry, was voted unanimously to the post. Actor-politician Mukesh has been elected as the vice-president of the association, and Idavela Babu replaced Mammootty as general secretary. Actors Siddique and Jagadish were elected as joint secretary and treasurer respectively.
The newly elected 11-member executive committee includes Aju Varghese, Asif Ali, Baburaj, Honey Rose, Indrans, Jayasurya, Tini Tom, Sudhir Karamana, Rachana Narayanankutty, Swetha Menon, and Unni Sivapal.
One of the first decisions the new leadership took on Sunday was to revoke the suspension of actor Dileep. The 49-year-old actor is one of the main accused in a criminal case of plotting the abduction and sexual assault of an actress in Kochi in February 2017. He was arrested by the police on July 10, 2017, following which the AMMA leaders held an emergency meeting at actor Mammootty’s residence in Kochi and took the decision to suspend Dileep’s membership. He was then serving as the association’s treasurer. He was released on bail on October 3, after spending 85 days in prison.
The AMMA fraternity remains tight-lipped about the details of the meeting which was held away from media glare. According to sources, no member of the Women In Cinema Collective (WCC) attended the AMMA meeting on Sunday. Other notable absentees include Prithviraj, one of the few male stars who strongly voiced support for the attacked actress in 2017. He was also part of the rebel team that demanded the suspension of Dileep.
The AMMA’s stand on Dileep has been largely divided, with many senior members like Salim Kumar making derogatory statements against the victim, and openly backing Dileep even as the police team investigating the case submitted to the court substantial evidence in support of his involvement in the case.
The formation of WCC in May 2017, with an objective to fight the gender bias and sexual violence against women in cinema, had also not gone down well within AMMA. In a recent fund-raising stage show, AMMA Mazhavillu, jointly organised by AMMA and Mazhavil Manorama television channel, a skit starring Mammotty, Mohanlal and several women members of AMMA took sharp jibes at WCC, portraying it as a ‘WhatsApp fold of pompous women’.
In a recent interview, actor Tovino Thomas, an upcoming superstar in the industry, said that the formation of WCC was unnecessary as “there is no gender bias or gender-based violence in Malayalam film industry.” Several other actors, including female artistes like Mamta Mohandas had also shared similar opinion on the women’s group.