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Kerala actresses train MeToo gun on AMMA

Revathy said the AMMA was continuing with its 'apathetic' stand regarding the survivor at a time the nation was extending support to abused women

By PTI in Thiruvananthapuram
  • Published 14.10.18, 2:20 AM
  • Updated 14.10.18, 2:20 AM
  • 2 mins read
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The WCC has been on the warpath since the actors’ body decided to reinstate prominent actor Dileep, who was arrested on the charge of conspiracy in the February 2017 kidnap and assault and later released on bail. (Thinkstock)

A collective of women associated with the Kerala film industry on Saturday accused the state’s powerful industry body of bias against a sexually assaulted actress, contrasting its “apathetic” stand with the wider support for women since the MeToo movement took off across the country.

The Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) also said the Association for Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) was guilty of “victim shaming” and was publicly “mocking” women who had chosen to speak up about last year’s sexual assault on the popular south Indian actress.

“I do not think they are just... they (the AMMA leadership) are unjust,” senior actress and WCC leader Revathy told an emotionally charged media conference in Kochi.

“They are trying to support the accused and not the survivor.”

The collective also alleged that the AMMA was acting against the interests of women and was not a “safe place” to discuss their issues.

The WCC has been on the warpath since the actors’ body decided to reinstate prominent actor Dileep, who was arrested on the charge of conspiracy in the February 2017 kidnap and assault and later released on bail.

Revathy said the AMMA was continuing with its “apathetic” stand regarding the survivor at a time the nation was extending support to abused women. She attacked AMMA president and superstar Mohanlal, saying the outfit’s leadership was “unjust”.

Revathi created a flutter when she said that years ago, a 17-year-old girl had knocked on her doors pleading to save her during a shoot. But she refused to elaborate on the incident.

Award-winning actress Parvathy Thiruvoth slammed the way the AMMA leadership had dealt with the issues raised by the survivor.

“The AMMA executive committee has handled the entire issue with extreme duplicity, in a callous manner and with vested interests,” she said. “Instead of standing up for what is right, they have revealed the deep-seated misogynistic bias and have closed ranks on us.”

The WCC, a platform of actresses, directors, scriptwriters and singers associated with the Malayalam film industry, had been launched soon after the February 2017 assault on the actress, who was molested in her car on her way home.

The assaulted actress had later resigned from the AMMA. Three other actresses too had put in their papers.

Parvathy flayed popular director B. Unnikrishnan’s move to direct his next movie with Dileep as the protagonist. At a time celebrities like Aamir Khan and Akshay Kumar were extending support to victims who had shared their experience through the #MeToo campaign in Bollywood, “here, in Mollywood”, she said, “a director is offering a chance to the accused in his next movie.”

Unnikrishnan is general secretary of the Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA).

Archana Padmini, a small-time actress, recalled her bad experience with a production controller during a shoot and the FEFKA’s lethargic attitude following her complaint.

Among those present at the media meet were Bina Paul Venugopal, deputy director, Kerala State Chalachitra Academy, director Anjali Menon, scriptwriter Deedi Damodaran and actresses Rima Kallingal, Ramya Nambeesan and Sajitha Madhathil.