Documents that TNM got from actor Thilakan’s family reveal that the time sought by AMMA is just another excuse to delay a decision on Dileep.

Documents show AMMA Exec Comm ousted Thilakan Why double standards for Dileep
news Mollywood Saturday, October 06, 2018 - 08:44

When the executive committee of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) met three women actors – Revathy, Padmapriya and Parvathy – in Kochi on August 7, one of the sticky issues was surrounding AMMA’s decision to reinstate actor DIleep, an accused in a case of rape and abduction.

When the trio insisted that AMMA cannot ignore the survivor’s account that the organisation she belonged to had not helped her, the meeting asked for time to decide on Dileep. AMMA Executive Committee wanted 21 days to seek legal counsel on whether they could take a decision to terminate Dileep’s membership, or if the General body had to conduct a vote.

Since Kerala was devastated by floods in August, the next meeting of the Executive Committee has been delayed.

However, documents that TNM got from actor Thilakan’s family reveal that the time sought by AMMA is just another excuse to delay a decision on Dileep.

Actor Thilakan’s membership from AMMA was terminated by the Executive Committee on the basis of a disciplinary committee recommendation. On April 5, 2010, when veteran actor Thilakan was thrown out, AMMA did not call for a general body meeting, nor did it seek any legal counsel. Thilakan had been a fierce critic of how AMMA and superstars were controlling the Malayalam film industry.

The series of events that led to Thilakan’s ouster

On February 10, 2010 the then AMMA secretary Edavela Babu sent a letter to Thilakan. In this letter, it was stated that the actor had been spreading lies and defaming AMMA, as well as hurting the sentiments of the members of the body. “The Executive Committee of the body which met on 9/02/2010 at the Abad Plaza in Kochi has decided that you should apologise to the body for publicly insulting the body,” reads the letter.

The letter stated that criticising AMMA in public or going to the media with grouses was against the disciplinary rules of the body. Edavela Babu demanded a response from Thilakan within seven days – that is, February 17, 2010.

Letter sent by Edavela Babu

Following this, Thilakan responded on February 17, 2010 saying that the letter from AMMA did not clarify as to when, where, and whom he had insulted. The actor in this letter also went on to point out how AMMA had remained silent when the leader of Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA) had forced the producers of various movies to remove Thilakan from the cast despite paying an advance. The actor says that AMMA continued their silence even when he received threatening messages and calls from the fans of various popular actors.

“Bylaws of the body state that AMMA’s aim is to protect and safeguard the rights and interests of its members but the fact that it is not able to do that, shows there is something wrong with the body,” the actor says in his letter.

On February 19, 2010, a Disciplinary Committee of AMMA asked Thilakan to appear before the Committee on March 1, 2010 at the office of AMMA in Thiruvananthapuram. However, according to Thilakan’s daughter Sonia, he could not attend the meeting because of other commitments.

Page 1 of Thilakan's reply to Edavela Babu's letter

On March 15, 2010, actor Mohanlal who was the then General Secretary of the body wrote to Thilakan listing out the statements made by the latter against AMMA in various publications. Mohanlal mentioned leading news dailies in which Thilakan’s interviews on AMMA and Malayalam superstars had appeared. In the letter, the actor went on to say that the Disciplinary Committee had found that the statements made by Thilakan were false and he had acted against AMMA.

“The Disciplinary Committee has recommended to impose serious punishment including termination of membership from the Association,” reads Mohanlal’s letter. The letter also requested Thilakan to “show cause why your membership is not liable to be terminated within seven days from the date of receipt of this notice”, failing which it “will be presumed that you have nothing to say on the decision to terminate your membership from the Association and the matter will be finally decided accordingly.”

Page 5 of Mohanlal's letter to Thilakan

Speaking to TNM, Sonia Thilakan, the daughter of Thilakan says that following the letter, the actor had appeared for a meeting which was attended by the Executive Committee and the Disciplinary Committee in the first week of April. “During this meeting, none of the members were willing to hear what my father had to say. My father told me that an actor he was fond of told him to get out of the meeting,” Sonia told TNM. “Following this, we came to know via news channels that my father had been thrown out of AMMA. We never got any written letter or statement from AMMA regarding this,” she added.

Compared to the treatment meted out to Thilakan on the basis of his criticism against the film body, it is clear that AMMA is treating Dileep with kid gloves. This despite him being accused in a criminal case of serious nature and four women members including the survivor resigning from the film body.

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