Vanitha magazine's cover with Dileep and family triggers outrage

The January 2022 issue comes days after Dileep's former friend, director Balachandra Kumar, levelled serious allegations against him in the actor assault case.
Screenshot of tweet with Vanitha magazine cover
Screenshot of tweet with Vanitha magazine cover
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The latest issue of Vanitha magazine, published by the Malayala Manorama group, has sparked massive outrage on social media. On the cover of the Malayalam magazine, published by the Manorama group, is actor Dileep along with his two daughters and wife Kavya Madhavan. He's carefully positioned as a family man, looming over the two girls and Kavya. The January 2022 issue comes days after Dileep's 'former friend', director Balachandra Kumar, levelled serious allegations against him in the actor assault case.

Dileep stands accused of being the mastermind of the crime that took place in February 2017. A prominent woman actor from the Malayalam film industry was abducted and sexually assaulted in a moving vehicle by a group of men. The trial of the case was nearing an end when Balachandra Kumar's allegations surfaced, providing impetus to the police to probe further. Vanitha's decision to carry Dileep's photograph on the cover page under such circumstances is viewed by many as an attempt to whitewash his image.

The cover story, written by Vijeesh Gopinath, paints a sympathetic picture of Dileep, describing the last five years of his life as a "ship shaken by a storm" and goes on to add that he started talking to the interviewer with "the face of a captain who will protect those with him during any storm". The interview describes his childhood poverty and his family life, going on to project him as the victim of a conspiracy. The question framed by interviewer Vijeesh is, "Whenever your new film releases, new controversies come up." To this, Dileep says, "It has happened earlier also, this attempt to paint me as a bad guy when my movie comes out." He adds that he doesn't know why "some people have this enmity towards me".

Claiming that it had been predicted that he would die before his 48th birthday, Dileep milks the interview to turn himself into the victim, saying, "This is also one kind of death. I'm lucky to have seen many people kill me when I'm alive.” The interviewer asks Dileep if he ever felt like dying by suicide, to which the accused's response is, "No, I only pray that I stay alive and am mentally stable till the truth is proved." To a question on whether he would open up about all his "pain" one day, wife Kavya jumps in to say that she has told him to write about all that he's experienced, mentioning every individual involved.

Many people on social media have slammed Vanitha and the Manorama group for the blatant show of support to the accused, even as fresh evidence of Dileep's alleged involvement is being investigated. Audio clips shared by Balachandra Kumar have been aired across multiple news channels. These clips, if proven to be authentic, suggest that Dileep was in possession of the assault video well before he and his legal team viewed it at the Angamaly court magistrate's chamber. Accused no 1 Pulsar Suni's mother has also handed over a letter that her son reportedly wrote detailing the crime. In the letter allegedly written by Suni, he has claimed that he committed the crime at Dileep's behest. He reportedly told his mother that he was writing down the details since he feared for his life.

Commenting that it was 'anti-Vanitha' (Vanitha means 'woman') to carry such a cover page at this juncture, many on social media expressed their outrage and disappointment with the magazine.

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