The General Body Meeting of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) on Thursday, in which the members brazened it out in front the media continues to draw flak from political parties in Kerala.
The meeting of the most powerful body of cine artists in Kerala had refused to condemn the derogatory comments made by actor Dileep about the female star who was abducted and assaulted in February this year.
What has also drawn ire is that two of the actors who were aggressive during a press meet of the organisation, Mukesh and Ganesh, are also MLAs.
"The suitable name for the artists' association is Achan (father). It was irresponsible on AMMA's behalf to not discuss the abduction, despite serious allegations were raised," said KPCC president MM Hassan.
Opposition leaders also questioned the Ganesh and Mukesh's motive behind belligerently defending Dileep.
"Actor-MLAs KB Ganeshkumar and Mukesh are trying to save someone. If the investigation is effective some CPI (M) leaders will be in trouble," said K Muraleedharan MLA.
"The prime accused diverting the case is Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan," alleged Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala.
Kerala Congress (B) chairman R Balakrishna Pillai criticised the meeting, but defended his son Ganesh Kumar.
"What happened in AMMA's meeting was something not befitting democracy. Ganesh Kumar's behaviour at the AMMA press meet was not bad. It is not proper for actors, however big they are, to howl at the media," Pillai said.
State Women's Commission chairperson MC Josephine urged AMMA to stop playing a double role in the issue. "AMMA has been trying to twist the investigation in Dileep's favour. Actors who are people's representatives as well should act with social responsibility," she said.
LDF Kollam district convener N Anirudhan said that people elected Mukesh not to fulfill the needs of AMMA. â€śThe statement made by Mukesh declaring Dileep's innocence is equal to influencing the investigation. Then what is the need for court and police? It should not be forgotten that Mukesh contested the election under the CPI (M) party symbol,â€ť he said.
Congress leader and former KPCC president VM Sudheeran said that the statement made by Pinarayi Vijayan soon after the crime, that there was no conspiracy, had caused concern and confusion among people. The truth has to come out. Amma leadership should be ready to correct the lapses,â€ť Sudheeran said in an FB post.
CPI(M) senior leader and former minister MA Baby has voiced support for the Women in Cinema Collective, a body that was formed in the wake of the abduction and alleged sexual assault of a Malayalam actor.
Taking to Facebook, the CPI(M) Polit Bureau member began by saluting the women, who have been questioning the male dominance in the film industry. Calling the Collective, who has the likes of Manju Warrier, Parvathy, Bhavana, Anjali Menon and others, revolutionary, MA Baby observed, â€śIt is high time for the older generation to have an open mind, as male dominance is being questioned like never before.â€ť
His comments come a day after the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) refused to take a stand on the derogatory comments made by actor Dileep on the female star, who was abducted and allegedly sexually assaulted.
â€śThe recent developments will have a long-term repercussion not only in the film industry but on Kerala society, as a whole, owing to the huge influence cinema and cine artists command. A major chunk of people in society consider them as role models,â€ť writes Baby.
Commending the Women in Cinema Collective, Baby writes, â€śThe very concept of the Womenâ€™s collective is revolutionary. It was unthinkable for women in cinema some time ago. Even the most powerful organisation in the film world has accepted the Womenâ€™s Collective. Not solely the members of the Womenâ€™s Collective but other female actors also have begun challenging male dominance in cinema.â€ť
Baby is not alone in his comments, with CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan also stating that the party is with the victim in in the issue.
Meanwhile filmmaker Ashiq Abu has said that there is not an iota of democracy in organisations in the film world. â€śTherefore, the general public need not feel surprised about Ammaâ€™s stand,â€ť he said.