The Women in Cinema Collective (WCC), at a press meet held in Kochi on Saturday evening, hit out against AMMA (Association Of Malayalam Movie Artistes) for favouring Dileep, the accused in a sexual violence case, over the survivor. “The accused is still a part of the organisation as a member while we, who stood with the survivor and the survivor herself, are outside, fighting,” they said. Actor Padmapriya said that AMMA flouted all their rules to reinstate Dileep.
“The accused has not been suspended and he hasn’t resigned yet. AMMA’s leadership is hiding behind the bylaws that they created,” said Padmapriya. “They have been cheating us and the public. Every act of theirs has been against the survivor,” she added. Rima Kallingal said that while elsewhere in Bollywood, projects are dropped involving those who have been named in the #MeToo campaign (referring to Aamir Khan who exited the Subhash Kapoor directed Mogul, and Akshay Kumar who cancelled the shoot of Housefull 4 that also starred Nana Patekar), the Malayalam film industry continues to announce films with the accused.
Actors Revathy, Rima Kallingal, Padma Priya, Parvathy, Archana Padmini, editor Bina Paul and director Anjali Menon attended the press meet. The actors said that even 15 months after their colleague was attacked, AMMA hasn’t expelled the accused.
“We are not going to keep quiet anymore”
Parvathy said that at the AMMA meet that was held on August 7, the women were not allowed to speak for over 40 minutes initially, and instead, they were accused of not participating in AMMA activities, thus digressing from the main reason the meeting was convened for.
“We hoped for a solution. But we only faced accusations. We kept requesting them to listen to us for 40 minutes but they didn’t,” said Parvathy. The male actors listened in silence only when the WCC members played a voice note from the survivor, she said.
Parvathy also revealed that actor Baburaj humiliated the survivor at the meeting.
“We feel hurt, humiliated, and we are very angry,” she declared.
Parvathy further added that at the meeting, although they had expert counsel from lawyer Vrinda Grover which they handed over to AMMA leaders, they refused to take it. “They kept procrastinating. They didn’t want us to talk to the media or the public.”
“The survivor showed immense courage, but what are we offering her in return?” asked Revathy, who added that the WCC wanted to make the film industry a safe place for everyone.
“We are not here to shame the industry. We are not resigning from AMMA. We are aware of the many stories which will come out soon. It’s not a threat. But we are here to stand by the survivor, who has lost her livelihood,” said Bina Paul.
“We want to tell you that the industry is not a big happy family that you are led to believe,” said Parvathy, adding that they have lost trust in AMMA’s leadership.