In a move that could be described as a historical step in ensuring a safe and democratic workspace in the Malayalam film industry, over 130 members from the film fraternity filed a joint statement demanding justice for the survivor. The statement not just denounce the decision of A.M.M.A to put back rape accused Dileep, but extends solidarity to the 4 women who came out of the organization to mark their protest. The signatories include many prominent names in the industry counting many national award-winning actors, directors and technicians.
â€œThe organization did not take any stance against the accused actor despite the actress filing a complaint against him, prior to the incident. It is only after the attack that the accused actor was expelled, which looked more like a face-saving act,â€ reads the statement. The signatories also extended their solidarity to the womenâ€™s collective who stood by their decision to fight the insensitive decision taken by A.M.M.A.
Speaking to TWJ, Director Kamal KM said, “We are not talking about a confrontation as portrayed by the media. But our concern is the prevailing value system and we are seeking a space that offers dignity and freedom. It is high time that we direct our discussion towards it.”
Kamal also said that Malayalam film industry had always been misogynistic and patriarchal. And it is in this context that there arises an ethical need to reform the existing system. â€œWCC is taking a historically important step and it is our responsibility as filmmakers to stand in solidarity with them. The present system is extremely exploitative and corruptâ€, he added. Kamal also dismissed the speculation regarding an alternative organization.
The statement also criticised the elected representatives who endorsed the decision of AMMA. Mukesh Kumar and Ganesh Kumar who are Members of Legislative Assembly and Innocent, an MP, hold key positions in A.M.M.A.
The collective demanded that the elected representatives, who have commitments to the society should step down from the organization condemning its anti-woman stance. Earlier, a statement from CPI(M) had questioned the very intent of accusing their elected representatives who are part of A.M.M.A.
Responding to TWJ, Rajeev Ravi said, â€œBeing a leftist organization, CPI(M) should have come out boldly supporting this girl and condemning the decision of the organization. They failed to do so. They could have just taken a progressive-leftist standâ€
Rajeev Ravi, Aashiq Abu, Shyam Pushkaran, Shahabas Aman, Revati, Parvathy, Vinayakan, Padmapriya, Sajith Madathil, Anwar Rasheed, Amal Neerad, Ajith Kumar B, Dileesh Pothan, Sreebala K Menon, Shyju Khalid, Kamal KM, Sudha KF, Sameer Thahir, Venu. Muhsin Parar, Zakariya Muhammad, Dr. Biju are some of the prominent names among the signatories.
The decision of A.M.M.A to take back the rape accused actor had been quite controversial. Four artists Rima Rajan, Geethu Mohandas, Ramya Nambeesan and Bhavana had resigned from the organization in protest, thus igniting a dialogue that calls for a change.
The resignation was backed by Women in Cinema Collective (WCC), a collective formed by female actors in Malayalam cinema — a first time in the Indian cinema history, where female actors formed an independant organisation, in response to the rape and assault to their colleague. They too condemned the resolution of A.M.M.A.
With more film professionals and artists joining in solidarity, Malaylam cinema is witnessing the famous #metoo movement gripping this small state in India, with similarities akin to the sexual assault scandals that gripped Hollywood earlier this year.