The Association of Malayalam Movie Artists will meet actresses Parvathy, Revathy and Padmapriya on August 7 amid the row over the guild’s decision to reinstate actor Dileep, who was ousted last July after his arrest in a sexual assault case.
The three actresses are members of the Women in Cinema Collective, which represents women in the Malayalam film industry. They had sought an emergency meeting with AMMA after the guild decided to welcome Dileep back at a General Body Meeting on June 24.
The Women in Cinema Collective was formed after an actress was allegedly waylaid by a group of men and sexually assaulted while on her way back from a shoot on February 17, 2017. Reports said that Dileep had allegedly planned the attack over a personal grudge.
“We have invited our members that include Revathi, Padmapriya, and Parvathy for the talks on August 7,” said Edavela Babu, general secretary of AMMA, according to The Hindu. “The association’s executive committee meeting will be also held on the occasion.”
AMMA’s decision to reinstate Dileep had garnered garnered criticism from several quarters. Four members from the Women in Cinema Collective, including the assault survivor, had resigned from actors’ body in protest. Around 80 academics, writers, artists, lawyers and activists condemned the decision in an open letter. Members of the Kannada and Malayalam film industries have also voiced their protest. Dileep has turned down the reinstatement offer, saying he will go back to the guild after establishing his innocence.
According to The News Minute , the Women in Cinema Collective wants four issues to be raised the upcoming meeting: “The expelled member’s reinstatement and the implications of AMMA’s decision, the steps taken by AMMA to support the survivor, how AMMAs bye-laws are structured to ensure welfare of all its members, and what AMMA can do to make women feel more included and safe,” the report said.
Meanwhile, in an interview to Mid-Day published on Thursday, actor-turned politician Kamal Haasan criticised the silence of Southern cinema actors on the row. “I don’t know what stops actors from taking part in gender equality issue,” Haasan told the tabloid. “I am sure every man is concerned, but at the same time, he is old-fashioned. He needs to wake up and understand that our country was headed by a woman prime minister nearly 40 years ago. She committed some mistakes for which we criticised her. But, we still brought her back. So, as a society, we aren’t going to spare anyone [in the wrong] nor are we going to lead an unnecessary witch hunt.”
In his first press conference after taking over as president of AMMA, actor Mohanlal on July 9 defended Dileep’s reinstatement saying that no one had raised objections to it during the annual general body meeting.
“A member can only be dismissed after discussing the matter in our general body. When the topic came for discussion, no one voiced any disagreement, and many members even spoke in Dileep’s favour,” Mohanlal said.