It looks like actor Siddique has got a taste of his own medicine. When he hastily called for a press meet of Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA) at the shooting location of actor Dileep’s film on Monday, he made a series of verbose statements that continued to abandon the survivor and hail actor Dileep, an accused in an abduction and sexual assault case in February 2017. Now, barely a day after the press meet, Siddique’s fellow actors have distanced themselves from him, expressing their dissatisfaction over the remarks he made without the consent of AMMA and its executive committee members.
AMMA secretary Siddique slammed Bollywood actors Akshay Kumar and Aamir Khan for quitting films based on sexual harassment allegations against the directors they were working with, and claimed that the Malayalam film industry will do no such thing with Dileep. However, his colleagues have now slammed Siddique for the first part of his statement.
“Akshay Kumar and Aamir Khan have all support from the Malayalam film industry,” the official spokesperson of AMMA, actor Jagadeesh told TNM.
“Siddique called for a press meet without the permission of the Executive Committee of AMMA, where he said the stand taken by Akshay Kumar and Aamir Khan was wrong. We sincerely regret his statement. We have a responsibility to clarify this misunderstanding to Bollywood,” Jagadeesh said.
Supporting the Bollywood actors for their bold move, Jagadeesh said, “Akshay Kumar will soon be acting in a movie directed by Priyadarshan. How will Priyadarshan face him? If Akshay Kumar asks if this is the state of Malayalam film industry, what will he answer? Akshay took a bold step to walk away from Sajid Khan’s Housefull 4. Aamir also did the same. In Bollywood, this is equivalent to asking an idol to step aside. Hence, AMMA stands by them.”
At the press meet on Monday, Siddique claimed that the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) was “misusing” the #MeToo movement. Although KPAC Lalitha, who was present along with Siddique at the meet, acknowledged that the movement was necessary, she said that there was no point in complaining after 10 or 15 years.
To this, Jagadeesh responded, “If a cause or initiative is doing well, there will always be exploitation. But that does not mean we can criticise it completely. Gadgets and computers, for instance, can be misused; but we cannot say they are useless.”
On Monday, hours before Siddique called for the impromptu press conference, Jagadeesh had issued a statement, on behalf of AMMA, to answer the questions raised by WCC members on Saturday. In the letter, he stated that the executive committee’s decision to remove Dileep had no legal validity and was transferred to the general body, which decided it was not right to expel the accused actor till a court ruled him guilty. He also clarified that only the general body has the right to expel him.