‘Dileep’s reinstatement inappropriate’: Kannada film associations write to AMMA

The letter's signatories include actor Chetan, director Kavitha Lankesh, actor Sruthi Hariharan, actor Prakash Raj and actor-director Rakshit Shetty.
‘Dileep’s reinstatement inappropriate’: Kannada film associations write to AMMA
‘Dileep’s reinstatement inappropriate’: Kannada film associations write to AMMA
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The ‘dump Dileep’ chorus is growing – whether or not the Malayalam film industry giants want to hear it. The Kannada Film Industry (KFI) and the Film Industry for Rights & Equality (FIRE) are the latest in a long line of people and organisations who have condemned the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) for reinstating Dileep, an accused in the case of the abduction and sexual assault of an actor.

In a letter to AMMA General Secretary Edavala Babu, KFI and FIRE expressed their disappointment with AMMA, and asked the association to revoke Dileep’s reinstatement till he is cleared of all charges, “and uphold the moral compasses that our film industries at their best possess.”

The letter has 50 signatories including actors Chetan, Sruthi Hariharan, Shraddha Srinath, Diganth, Meghana Gaonkar, actor-directors Rakshit Shetty and Prakash Rai, directors Kavitha Lankesh, Roopa Iyer and Pannaga Bharana, among others.

“Although we of KFI & FIRE espouse the Constitutional notion of ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ we deem AMMA’s reinstatement as even more inappropriate since the victim has been a member of AMMA and the accused has yet to be acquitted of all wrongdoing,” the letter said.

“With issues like women’s safety and gender equality being at the forefront of national debate, our cinema industries have strong responsibilities to blaze exemplary trails for the rest of society,” it added.

Speaking to TNM, Kannada actor Chetan said: “Now, to reinstate that person, we believe that it is not a thoughtful decision and it doesn’t reflect well on the industry because there is no information about the innocence of Dileep. We are not judging the guilt or the innocence of Dileep, that is up to the courts,” he said.

“From our industry standpoint, it (AMMA reinstating Dileep) is not sending out the right message. From our industry standpoint, it doesn’t show that the industry and AMMA cares about the victim, who is also an AMMA member, and also does not bode well about caring about the most vulnerable people – whether that be a woman in the film industry or a woman victimised by violence in this situation,” he added.

Earlier this week, four women from the Women in Cinema Collective – Rima Kallingal, Ramya Nambessan, Geetu Mohandas and the survivor – resigned from AMMA soon after it reinstated Dileep. Following this, three other WCC members, Parvathy, Padmapriya, and Revathy, submitted a letter to AMMA, questioning its decision and calling for an emergency executive meeting. Fifteen WCC members also issued a statement explaining why they had never become part of AMMA.

Speaking to TNM, actor Sruthi Hariharan told TNM about why WCC’s work was important at this juncture, and why one needs to take a stand.

“WCC was formed at a time when a lot of people raised their voice against a man who is accused in the sexual assault case of a fellow artiste. We have heard a lot of such issues being pushed under the carpet and half the time never spoken about, probably because of a fear of losing out on their career or their morality being questioned,” she said.  

“I think the work of WCC is very important, especially the fact that this particular battle that they are fighting against AMMA is their biggest battle since the time they started. I found it very inspiring that they raised their voice. Especially as a woman, I think it is even more important to support fellow women and that’s exactly what we’re trying to do over here,” she added.

Several prominent members of the Malayalam industry have also slammed AMMA. Several actors, directors, producers and other technicians from the industry have called to question the actions of AMMA office bearers and have demanded that the public representatives who are part of the body, step down.

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