On Monday, actor and President of AMMA (Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes), met the media at the Press Club in Kochi. The move comes after AMMA was severely criticised for reinstating rape accused Dileep into the organisation.
After a brief summary of why the press meet had been called, Mohanlal took questions from journalists. When asked about why Dileep had been taken back, Mohanlal repeatedly said that women members had not objected to it and neither did the WCC. To cement his claim, he said that members of the WCC did not turn up at the AMMA Annual General Body Meeting which was held on June 24, despite knowing that Dileep's reinstatement was on the agenda.
But, was Mohanlal lying?
TNM has accessed a copy of the agenda from AMMA's office bearers. While it lists seven items, none of them mentions Dileep or anything to do with the sexual assault case which shook Kerala.
Page 3 of the 24 page document circulated to AMMA members mentions items like "To appoint Auditor and fix his remuneration", "11 A.M to adjourn the meeting for Election and Installation of new office bearers", "Selection of Election Officers" etc, but does not mention Dileep anywhere.
When a reporter pointed out that one of WCC's primary complaint was that reinstating Dileep was not part of the agenda and that it was discussed all of a sudden, Mohanlal said, "They (WCC) don't know about it. It was part of the agenda to be discussed," he said.
AMMA has come under severe criticism for suddenly taking up Dileep's issue and that too in the first meeting under the newly formed leadership. Instead of agreeing that Dileep's name was raised in the meeting by Urmila Unni without any prior warning to other members, Mohanlal insisted that it was part of the agenda.
"The meeting would have discussed Dileep after lunch break. Urmila Unni just raised it before we took it up, it would anyway have been taken up. It was a matter that was very much part of the agenda," he said.
Mohanlal repeatedly said during the press meet that people who wished to object to Dileep's reinstatement could have come to the meeting and expressed their objections. But when it was not even on the agenda, how were WCC members supposed to know?
Asked about WCC members resigning, Mohanlal was firmly on AMMA's side.
"We have received the resignations of the survivor and Ramya Nambessan. I have not got the resignations of the other two (Geetu Mohandas and Rima Kallingal). I cannot say that they can come back if they take back their resignation. it is not about people resigning when they wish and coming back when they wish, they need to tell us their reasons for resigning. and then the general body will discuss it," he said.
The actor said several times during the press meet that AMMA had done a lot of good for Malayalam film artistes and that it was not right for people to say it must be dissolved.
Among the questions was why AMMA had put up a derogatory skit on the WCC during the AMMA Mazhavilu show. Actor Rima Kallingal had spoken about the show on Reporter TV, soon after she resigned from AMMA along with Geetu Mohandas and Ramya Nambeessan. Rima had said that AMMA's insensitivity and lack of concern for the survivor was evident through the show.
In the press meet, however, Mohanlal called the skit an example of "black humour" and defended it by claiming that it had been the idea of the six women actors who'd enacted it. Mammootty as well as Mohanlal had made "cameos" in the skit.
Mohanlal further added that the skit had been done because there was all this talk about patriarchy. The actor claimed that he was unaware that AMMA was a patriarchal organisation.
The WCC declined to comment on the press meet when contacted.