I’m your fangirl, but Innocent, of late, I'm unable to watch you on TV without cringing.

Dear Innocent stop talking youre destroying my childhoodScreenshot/ Youtube
Voices Opinion Thursday, July 06, 2017 - 12:17

Listen Innocent, I'm your fangirl. I only have to see your face on TV to start laughing because you are a comic genius. I have very fond memories of watching you on screen. When you rolled your eyes, and made that pulicha face, you positively gave me a bellyache. 

I can watch movies like Mithunam ("Avandey churidhar itta bariya paranju..." bwahaha), SandeshamRamji Rao SpeakingVietnam Colony, Manichitrathaazhu and countless others, that I can watch any time, on any day, and I'd laugh just the same as I did the first time I watched it. You're an integral part of my childhood, Innocent. 

When you got into politics, I was happy for you. And as expected, you brought some much-needed hilarity by speaking your mind on the sober and boring Parliamentary procedures - why, indeed, can't all the MPs take their oath at the same time instead of bleating 'Mei' one by one? 

As a cancer survivor, you showed that good humour can tide us through our darkest times. It was also a pleasure to listen to your speech in Malayalam in the Lok Sabha on the need to provide subsidies for cancer medication, even as the Speaker interrupted you, saying you'd not obtained permission to speak in 'Malayalee' - thus underlining why we south Indians are so irritated by Hindi imposition.

But Innocent, of late, I'm unable to watch you on TV without cringing. What are you doing? What are you saying? Are you even thinking anymore? As the President of AMMA, your conduct has been disgraceful in the Malayalam actor assault case. 

Not only has the association thrown its weight unequivocally behind a man who is under police investigation for a suspected link to a brutal assault on his woman colleague, you, in your individual capacity, have been uttering such nonsensical statements. 

It's true that Dileep cannot be pronounced guilty by a media trial and he must be given every chance to assert his innocence in the matter. And there's no reason at all to think that he will be denied these chances. 

But to say, AMMA cares about all its children and will support them both no matter what? Innocent, we're not talking of children looting candy from a benevolent mother's kitchen. As an intelligent man engaged actively in politics, can you not see the glaringly disproportionate power equations that you're creating? You have also repeatedly failed to condemn the "children" in your organisation who have made derogatory remarks about the victim.

You keep saying that you don't wish to discuss the issue but you're discussing the issue all the same every time you declare that Dileep has nothing to do with the crime because he told you so. Innocent, are you really that innocent?

And sexual harassment...what is that? That's your latest salvo. A mind-boggling claim that there is no "casting couch" in the Malayalam film industry and that it is only a few "bad" women who go to bed with a man to find work. This, after your women colleagues like Parvathy have spoken up about it. This, after the Women's Collective in Cinema was set up to address such issues that are of prime concern to them - the unsafe environment that men like you perpetuate and protect because of your willful blindness. 

How do you think this will make numerous women in the Malayalam film industry, who are getting a taste of what will happen if they ever speak of sexual harassment or assault publicly, feel?

Innocent, if you cannot say anything sensible, please don't say anything at all. You're destroying my childhood. Seriously. I don't want to lose my respect for you and start thinking about your insensitive and despicable statements when I'm watching my favourite comedian unleash his genius on screen. Yes, we know actors are playing a role on screen and we shouldn't confuse their real life with reel - but you're also a politician and the head of an organisation that deals with cinema off screen. No amount of naariyal ka paani can help me restore my fan feelings if you go on in this vein. Please stop.

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