No Substantial Outcome of AMMA Meeting with WCC
August 9, 2018
The much awaited meeting between the Association of Malayalam Movie actors (AMMA) and the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) members was held on August 7, in Kochi. The AMMA and WCC members- Revathy, Padmapriya, and Parvathy were also a part of the meeting. The meeting was called by AMMA secretary Edavela Babu, in response to the letter written by WCC members to the association.
Earlier, in a letter addressing to the AMMA President, Mohanlal, the three actresses demanded a clarification for reinstating the membership of the rape accused actor – Dileep, formation of an Internal Complaints Committee, and extend its full support with the survivor actress. The AMMA called for the meeting after they faced a huge backlash from the society.
The meeting with the AMMA executive council and the three actresses lasted for two hours. After the meeting, talking to the media, actress Parvathy said, “It was a healthy discussion but no conclusions are made and we have come here as life-term members of AMMA.” The meeting might be successful if AMMA supports the actress who was abducted and assures to provide justice to the other resigned actress from AMMA. Mohanlal, also responded to the media by taking the responsibilities of their “faults” and said, “As an organisation, AMMA might have done some mistakes. The purpose of the meeting is to have and maintain a healthy relationship with the co-actors.”
After more than a year’s delay, last week, just before the meeting, AMMA had also impleaded two women representatives for their inputs to the survivor actress. This was also the association’s move to keep out of the issue directly. However, the abducted actress has denied the new “concern” AMMA has provided her ahead of the meeting with the WCC members. Mohanlal further said that “such incidents happen rarely.” We hope the president was referring to the abduction of the actress and not the harassment, gender inequality or chauvinism that exists in the film industry as rare.
In February last year, the Malayalam actress was abducted and molested by a group of men while returning from work. Following the police complaint she filed, the police found one of the leading Malayalam actor Dileep’s involvement in the abduction. WCC, a woman’s collective, was formed by a group of women from the Malayalam film industry last year after the fatal incident. One of the reasons behind the formation of this collective was to fight against discrimination women are subjected to, by the powerful men of the industry.
As a strategic move in the meeting held on June 24, AMMA used the female actor Urmila Unni to raise the issue of Dileep. The restatement of one of the prime accused was taken in the very same meeting. At the same time, AMMA hasn’t put this as an agenda for the executive meeting. AMMA’s move has raised eyebrows all over the country. The authoritarianism and biased attitude of the AMMA executive committee led to the resignation of the four actresses including the survivor, actor-director Geethu Mohandas, Rima Kallingal and Remya Nambeesan. There was no space left for the women to speak in the patriarchal organisation and this is precisely what Rim Kallingal said before her resignation from AMMA, “Nobody point in talking to AMMA on Dileep.” When the four actresses resigned over the restatement of the accused actor, Dileep, the response from one of the responsible MLA and AMMA member K.B Ganesh Kumar was that “all the actresses who resigned from AMMA were the trouble-makers of the organisation.” With his comment, Ganesh Kumar might have become the hero for many fan-followers who like to troll women who stand against such chauvinist men. As Sajitha Madathil, an actor who was also a victim of such of cyber-lynching by Mohanlal fans responds, “Gender sensitivity is not something that comes with a high political position. People need to think about gender inequalities in our society; they need to be sensitive to the issues faced by the females in this country.”
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