Following the row on AMMA welcoming Dileep, an accused in the Malayalam actor assault case, back into its fold, actor Rima Kallingal, who is the founding member of the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC), said it would not be of any use to have a logical discussion with the organisation.
Rima was responding to a question asking her why the WCC, a body founded to fight sexism in the industry, did not address the issue of Dileep returning to AMMA.
"Everybody is asking why we did not ask these questions (the WCC had raised seven concerns in its Facebook page) at the AMMA meet. There are two reasons. One, it's going to be one year after the Malayalam actor assault case during which we have been initiating discussions on the issue with AMMA in many ways. We all saw how AMMA, during a show (AMMA Mazhavillu), which was organised collectively by everyone, reacted to our questions on a public platform," she said, in an interview to Reporter Live TV.
Rima was referring to a particular skit performed by six female actors from Mollywood at the recently held AMMA Mazhavillu, a stage show, which also had guest appearances by big stars, Mammootty and Mohanlal. The skit spoke about a 'WhatsApp Collective' on women empowerment and had mocked the WCC.
Rima categorically told the anchor that the WCC believed there was no use raising their opposition at AMMA meet.
"We humbly ask people not to tell us to speak to AMMA anymore. We saw their sensitivity and their intelligence while dealing with issues that we have raised," she said, referring to the skit and previous meetings of the AMMA.
"They (AMMA) gave us a very public response (with the skit) and we have all seen it. They are very black and white about it and there is not even a grey area. We all know with clarity how they view us (WCC). This movement is a worldwide one now. Calling it MeToo and TimesUP, many women in many ways have spoken against this big unfairness (gender inequality). But they (AMMA) have insulted this organisation (WCC), that can become a part of a worldwide conversation on sexism, in such a cheap manner. Using the biggest platform they could, (AMMA Mazhavillu show), members, including the senior-most ones, staged a skit insulting the collective. So after this, don't expect us to approach them with the hopes of getting a mature reaction from them. I think it is black and white," she said.
The actor also requested viewers not to ask them (WCC) to initiate another discussion with AMMA, considering the anti-women stance the organisation had taken.
"Considering the level of sensitivity and intelligence these people (AMMA members) have shown while viewing our argument, I beg people to not ask us to sit in and logically and practically discuss the issue with them. Don't demand that from us anymore," she said.
The actor also stated that she did not believe that any kind of positive change, with regards to this issue, would happen from within AMMA.
"Just look at why WCC as an organisation was even formed. What was the need for the formation of this space? Because things were not happening there (in AMMA)."
Following this, Rima also hinted that the collective might consider leaving AMMA if the body did not convince them (members of the WCC) why they must stay.
"Despite knowing our system and our government, we still go and vote right, with the hopes that some change will happen? But now we have reached the borderline here. Should we speak about it from within (AMMA) and should be a part of it. We are at the edge of this argument," she said.
Speaking about the supportive stance AMMA has taken towards Dileep, Rima said, "Considering a crime accused who has spent 3 months in jail, who is an accused in the case and who has been denied bail two times, is being welcomed back into the organisation. And considering that the survivor, too, is a part of the organisation. Taking into account (AMMA) has very clearly stated who it sides with, they should convince all its members, including me and a Padmapriya and a Parvathi and a Revathi (all members of WCC) and the survivor herself, why we still must be a part of AMMA. We feel we don't have to remain in AMMA if they do not convince us."
Rima also stated that she did not believe this issue could be viewed differently by both genders, after Urmila Unni, a female actor, spoke in support of Dileep's entry into AMMA .
"I don't think there is a gender difference in the way we look at this issue. I personally know a lot of men who have stood up for the survivor on this issue. We are seeing a lot of women who don't even clearly understand the patriarchy here and in what situation we are currently in. Urmila Unni is but one example. I don't think there's a gender difference in how we view this issue. I also don't believe that women are turning against each other in this issue. I also cannot view it in such a manner.”