The Executive Committee of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA) announced that actor Dileep, who has been accused of masterminding the abduction and sexual assault of a prominent woman actor, has tendered his resignation from the organisation.
AMMA President Mohanlal at a press conference in Kochi on Friday said that he had personally called Dileep, and asked him to tender his resignation. "He readily gave it and his resignation was accepted," Mohanlal said.
However, a reporter pointed out that Siddique had claimed that Dileep had given the resignation himself. "I said what I did, You trust who you want," Mohanlal retorted.
"The big problem when I took charge was revolving around Dileep. WCC told us that we should have a clear stand with this. When WCC came to talk to us, we asked them for some time. We wanted time to call the General Body, but then the situation in Kerala changed (floods). They had also spoken to us about taking back the members who resigned, we did not know how to deal with it," said Mohanlal.
Mohanlal said he was upset that he had become the target of the protest. "Many media houses, not in Malayalam, but in English, Tamil etc made me the face of this. It hurt me," he said.
The actor played down the differences between AMMA Secretary Siddique and spokesperson Jagadeesh over the issue of taking back four women actors, who had resigned from AMMA. Siddique had earlier said that Rima Kallingal, Remya Nambeesan, Geethu Mohandas and the survivor had to apologise before they could be taken back to AMMA. However, Jagadeeh had gone on to hit out at Siddique saying that he had no right to make such a statement and that only the Executive Committee could take a decision on the issue.
Commenting on the differences, Mohanlal said, "They both spoke to me. Siddique is someone who works for the organisation. Both Jagadeesh and Siddique said we want time, just that the way they presented is different."
In a bid to show a united front, Siddique and Jagadeesh sat together at the press meet. Jagadeesh who had earlier criticised Siddique did a u-turn. Defending Siddique, Jagadeesh said that Siddique had only said that a decision could be taken by the General Body and there was nothing wrong with it.
AMMA has, time and again, been criticised for its partisan ways of functioning. Even though the film body has helped out several artistes in the past, allegations have always been in the air about how it is controlled by the industry heavyweights. Notably, actor Dileep – who is accused of being the mastermind in the abduction and sexual assault of a prominent woman actor – was reinstated in AMMA on June 25, 2018, just as Mohanlal took over as President of AMMA . Dileep was earlier suspended from AMMA when he was questioned and arrested in the sexual assault case.
The survivor of the assault, too, had previously complained to AMMA that she had been denied acting opportunities because of Dileep, and because of her friendship with the latter's ex-wife, actor Manju Warrier. Siddique, at a press conference, however, denied that such a complaint had been given in writing.
The Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) has raised the issue persistently since June, and has held several meetings with AMMA. However, AMMA continued to resist pressure to remove Dileep from the organisation.