Bangalore: Malayalam superstar Mammootty on Friday broke his silence on his fans bullying an actress who spoke against misogynistic dialogues mouthed by him in a film, saying he had already comforted her and that "freedom of opinion is as important as freedom of expression".
Parvathy had come under heavy trolling and even faced rape and death threats from those claiming to be Mammootty's fans. Two persons, including one on Friday morning, have been arrested.
Mammootty, 66, told the online portal of Malayala Manorama that he reassured Parvathy after she messaged him about coming under vicious attack.
"I have already told her to ignore all this as people like us often get dragged into such controversies. I didn't pay attention to what happened later as I was travelling abroad and got busy with some other work," he said.
Asked about his fans crossing all boundaries of decency in abusing and threatening Parvathy, Mammootty said: "I have not assigned anyone to reply or react for me."
"I don't chase controversies. What we need is meaningful dialogue. Freedom of opinion is as important as freedom of expression," he added.
There was, however, no word on the kernel of the controversy, Mammootty's dialogue in Kasaba (2016) to which Parvathy had drawn attention at a panel discussion at the recent International Film Festival of Kerala.
Mammootty had been criticised for remaining silent when Parvathy was being bullied and threatened by his fans, who had construed her comments as a personal attack on the superstar.
On Friday morning, a second person, Rojan, was arrested in Ernakulam for allegedly threatening to rape Parvathy.
According to a police source, Rojan was nonchalant when he was taken into custody. "He simply said he couldn't accept Parvathy's comments and had reacted as he was a fan of Mammootty.
Earlier on Wednesday, Printo Chittilappilly, 23, a house painter, had been arrested for threatening and abusing Parvathy on social media. He got bail on Thursday.
A little-known online publication named malayalamnews.com reported Printo's release and ran a brief interview with him in which he denied being part of the organised fan network of Mammootty but insisted he admired the actor.