New Delhi: Two Malayalam film actors – Rima Kallingal and Remya Nambeesan – and director Geethu Mohandas have quit the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA) after the organisation decided to take back actor Dileep. Dileep is one of the accused in the kidnapping and sexual assault of a popular Malayalam actor in February 2017. The survivor in the case has also quit the AMMA.
According to the Indian Express, Dileep was allowed to rejoin the association a day after superstar Mohanlal was appointed its new president.
The survivor, who was the first to quit the association, wrote in a personal note quoted by The News Minute,
“Prior to this, this actor has snatched away opportunities of acting from me. When I had complained at that time, AMMA did not act seriously on my complaint. And when such a terrible incident happened, an organisation that I am also a part of tried to protect the man who has been accused of the crime. Realising that there is no purpose in being a part of such an organisation, I hereby resign.”
All four of the women who have quit are members of the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC). However, other WCC members who are in the AMMA have decided to remain in the organisation.
Nambeeshan wrote in her resignation note,
“Resigning from AMMA. My resignation is to protest the highly irresponsible stance taken in view of the current circumstances. The organisation has taken a very deceitful and inhuman stance against our colleague who has suffered a gruesome assault. Primarily, I believe in being a good human being. Let justice prevail.”
Mohandas said she should have resigned from the body a long time ago.
“I am resigning from AMMA. I should have done this long back. I had understood when I was a working committee member of AMMA that it is tough to question AMMA’s decisions when being a part of it. AMMA needs people who follow the decision of the leadership without questioning. Our voices are getting drowned there. We cannot allow that anymore. I stand with my friend and will fight AMMA’s such irresponsible actions from outside,” wrote Nambeeshan.
The AMMA had removed Dileep as a member almost a year ago, after he was arrested by the police. However, several senior actors had spoken out in support of him recently.
On February 17, 2017, a 30-year-old actor was abducted in Kochi at night and molested by a gang of men who also took pictures and video footage of her.
While some men and women in the Malayalam film industry stood by the survivor and supported her against Dileep and other accused – and formed the WCC – others have taken the side of the actor. According to the Indian Express, “A skit was performed at the AMMA Mazhavillu show by six women artistes which took potshots at the WCC. The event had several big names in attendance including the new president of AMMA, Mohanlal.”
Two Dileep-starrers have been released since the news of the assault first broke, Ramaleela and Kammara Sambhavam.
While a large number of people in the Malayalam film industry continue to back Dileep, women in film industries acorss the world have been speaking up against sexual assault. The loudest example of this is from Hollywood, where a very large number of women came out to say they were assaulted and harassed by producer Harvey Weinstein.