Sunday saw the finest artists of the Malayalam film industry accepting laurels at the 47th Kerala State Film Awards held in Kannur. But the awards ceremony also became the venue for artists to extend their unconditional support to the woman actor, who was allegedly abducted and assaulted in February.
Women in Cinema Collective (WCC), a forum that was formed following the attack on the woman actor, carried out a campaign called "Avalkkoppam", that loosely translates to "with her" in Malayalam.
While members of WCC, actors and activists have in the past used the hashtag âAvalkkoppamâ on social media to rally for the survivor, this was the first time the campaign was taken offline.
A signature campaign, organised at the venue of the state award ceremony in Thalassery in Kannur district, was inaugurated by senior actor Nilambur Ayesha. Boards were placed in all four entrance gates of the event, giving stars and those in the film fraternity the opportunity to declare their support for the woman actor.
"The CM saying that the state government was always with the oppressed and the downtrodden, has given us hope. Director Vidhu Vincent, who won the Best Director award for her debut film Manhole, spoke in support of the woman actor. Actor Rima Kallingal, at the end of her performance, held up a placard and expressed her solidarity. Like that, WCC transformed the venue of the award ceremony to carry out our campaign," WCC said in a statement.
The assault and abduction of a prominent woman actor in February this year had triggered a debate over the safety of women and their representation in the Malayalam film industry.
The WCC has also been openly critical of those who have maligned the survivor while pledging support to actor Dileep, who is an accused in the case.