Almost a week after the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA), took the controversial decision of reinstating rape accused Dileep as a member, the organisation's president and superstar Mohanlal has finally broken his silence.
In a statement, Mohanlal has justified the decision taken by the body which has been condemned widely.
He says, "We strongly believe that the organisation AMMA has existed all this while, having realised the true essence of the word. I'm writing this note with immense pain, that AMMA has been at the receiving end of unfair criticism through the media."
Mohanlal goes on to insist that the decision was taken "unanimously" although three members of the Women in Cinema Collective recently wrote to AMMA pointing out that taking Dileep back was not listed as an agenda in the meeting and that they had not been present during it.
"It was a unanimous sentiment that was raised in the general body meeting of AMMA held on June 26, 2018, that action against Dileep be frozen," says Mohanlal.
Calling the decision to reinstate a rape accused who had been removed from the body after he was arrested by the police, a "democratic" one, Mohanlal says, "The decision to revoke the removal of Dileep was an emotion that had no voice of opposition. The AMMA leadership has only gone by the basic democratic decency to stand with the unanimous opinion of the general body."
Mohanlal also played the "trial by media" victim card by noting, "We had not even officially informed Dileep of the decision. But even before that, the media has used it as a weapon against AMMA. Many people that we respect came with their opposition even before knowing the truth."
The actor, whose effigy was burnt during protests recently, said that AMMA accepts all the criticism it has received for the move.
Finally addressing the fact that not all AMMA members were, in fact, present during the meeting, he says, "Some people who had not attended the yearly meeting on June 26 later raised their voice of opposition and declared that they are leaving the association. The new leadership is ready to examine the emotion behind this decision."
Trying to strike a conciliatory tone, Mohanlal said that "corrections can come from either side". He said, "We can change the disagreements into agreements. Let those who throw dirt from the outside, continue doing that. We can ignore those who are acting to destroy this association. It is in our own interest that we, the members of the association, should stand together."
Mohanlal's letter comes close on the heels of a press statement signed by 100 prominent members of the Malayalam film industry, demanding that elected representatives of AMMA step down from the body for reinstating Dileep.
The signatories include WCC members Parvathy, Revathy, Vidhu Vincent, Padmapriya, actor Vinayakan, directors Rajeev Ravi, Aashiq Abu, Dileesh Pothan and others.