Thirty-five years, she's worked in the industry, Revathy says as she gets the microphone. ' I have acted in hundred and something films, about 45 of them in Malayalam', she said. Revathy introduced herself soon after her colleagues at the Woman in Cinema Collective, Parvathy and Padmapriya introduced themselves
The introduction surprised those gathered at the Ernakulam Press Club.
You know why we are doing this, Revathy asks. Because that's how the president of AMMA spoke of them recently, like three 'nadimar' - actresses. Not by names. Instead of seeing them as individuals, they were clubbed together as 'actresses'
Mohanlal's statement came after the meeting the three women had with the executive committee of AMMA, to discuss among other concerns, the question of actor Dileep's membership in the film body. There is no clarity, it seems. The actor is neither in nor out of the association.
How can that be, asks Parvathy, looking equally emotional. They are all in black, nine members of the Women in Cinema Collective, talking about the utter disappointment they had after the meeting with the EC members of AMMA and the letters of communication that followed.
This wasn't a 'Me Too', they had to repeat since the question seemed to be in the air, unasked. But much before the world erupted with me too, the WCC had formed, Padmapriya reminds you.
As journalists persisted with questions on why the women artistes were not outing names off sexual offenders in the Malayalam film industry, Revathi intervened. She reminded that those stories would come out. But this is about cleansing a space where a new young generation of women actors would come.
"Where daughters of my friends and maybe my daughter too would one day come. We want it to be safe for them. We want to cleanse the space," Revathy spoke tenderly.
Revathy reminds the media about the undue influence that AMMA members enjoy among the public was enormous. "All 17 members of the EC are celebrities, everything they do becomes news and that should make them more responsible."
Revathy then spoke of an incident from a few years ago when a young woman knocked at her door at 1 in the night and said, save her. "That shouldn't happen to anyone. What are we doing to the survivor of a terrible sexual violence that happened one and a half years ago? We can't name her, we can't use her photo. We are creating an invisible wall in front of her. We are making her invisible."
It's not a happy family, Parvathy says. AMMA is not. And they, the WCC members, are not going to sit quietly anymore. They had been quiet too long, trusting their colleagues who gave them word after word and never kept them. Now they were going to expose them. And the "happy family".