AMMA members who are also part of the Women in Cinema Collective – Revathy, Parvathy and Padmapriya – had raised objections to the proposed changes, which were supported by the likes of Mammootty and Joy Mathew.

Amendments to AMMA bye-laws frozen after WCC members oppose
Flix Mollywood Sunday, June 30, 2019 - 19:04

After a whole day of discussions in Kochi, the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes has decided that it will not change the bye-laws, for the moment. Mohanlal, AMMA president, coming out of the meeting, told the media, “The amendments which we had proposed for the bye-laws have been frozen. Everyone did not get time to give opinion on it, so we have frozen it for now."

AMMA members who are also part of the Women in Cinema Collective – Revathy, Parvathy and Padmapriya – had raised objections to the changes, the former two while attending the meeting, and the latter writing an email about it. The main opposition was against an amendment that gave decisive powers to three members of the Executive Committee. The three women also opposed a draconian amendment to stop members from criticizing AMMA in public.

Actor Shammi Thilakan came in support of the women, but he first wanted changes to the bye-laws made in 1994 (the year when AMMA was formed) to be implemented before the new changes should take effect. Senior actor Joy Mathew was another member who stood with the women’s objections, especially on their demand to include equal number of women and men in the Internal Complaints Committee for addressing complaints of sexual harassment of women. The ICC was recently formed, after the WCC members went to court for it.

Parvathy, after the meeting, said, “The ICC being formed is a good step. We are looking forward to be a part of it. We’d also like to be members of the Executive Council (EC) and the Disciplinary Committee (formed for the ICC). I would also run for the next election.”

Sreedevika, an expat actor, spoke about how undemocratic the amendments are and the need to change it. Veteran actor Mammootty too came in support of the WCC members in the latter half of the day. Speaking at the meeting, the actor who had once led AMMA opined that the amendments should not be passed without further consultation.

With so many strong objections, including Mammootty’s, the AMMA members decided that the proposed amendments need to be frozen for the moment.

Watch: Mohanlal addresses the media

Objections

The WCC members raised objections to parts of the amendments, including the centralisation of power to a few members of the EC. This meant that the EC could take any decision against the interest of the association and no one could object to it. Anyone who tries to protect the interest of a member of AMMA against the EC’s interest can also be dismissed. There is also a clause in the new amendments that prevents members from criticising the association or any of its members in the media -- it shall be considered misconduct.  The WCC members had objected to this clause too, underlining how this is against fundamental rights.

“No member shall publish or cause to be published any statement in newspapers, social media, television, FM, merchandising, advertising, or make announcements and statements in public criticising the activities of the association, Executive Committee (EC), members of EC or members of association. These activities shall be treated as misconduct,” state the proposed byelaws of AMMA. And in case of such ‘misconduct’, the Executive Committee can take action against the member. One must remember that after a female actor was kidnapped and sexually assaulted in February 2017, many members had spoken out against AMMA’s apathy towards her.

Earlier it was said that the amendments to the bye laws would be drafted by a sub committee that’d be constituted from among the members. Some of the members of the WCC had volunteered to be in the committee, but there was no word about it later on. And the next they hear is of the proposal of the amendments being made for the meeting.

The WCC members want the decisions about membership to be made by a sub committee, of which at least half the members are women. There should also be clear guidelines on the basis of accepting or rejecting a member. They also ask for provision for secret voting, in case three or more members ask for it. In the recently constituted Internal Complaints Committee, at least two members of the disciplinary committee should be women, and an accused member in this case, should have a hearing only with the disciplinary committee, not also the EC. No member should be elected more than twice to the EC for consecutive members or for more than nine years, the WCC said.

Read: AMMA to bring in new laws, wants to stop members from criticising it in public

Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!
You can also support us with a one-time payment.