Maala Parvathy, theatre and film actor, has resigned from the Internal Committee (IC) that was recently formed in the actors’ body Association of Malayalam Cinema Artistes (A.M.M.A.). Her decision comes in the wake of the association's inaction against Vijay Babu, an actor and producer who has been accused of raping a woman actor. TNM has learnt that Maala Parvathi sent in her resignation on the morning of Monday, May 2, but will continue to be a member of A.M.M.A.
In her resignation, the actor wrote that constituting an Internal Complaints Committee was for compliance with the law, and was useful to build confidence in women. "I was happy to be a part of it. It is not just a grievance redressal committee, but has to implement policies to prevent harassment. It also has to recommend actions to be taken. And it is legally binding that the members behave appropriately. Being a committee member is a huge responsibility and it can only be done if the committee is autonomous. But now I doubt whether I can deliver my responsibilities as per my conscience," she said.
According to sources, the IC had recommended on April 27 evening that Vijay Babu should be asked to step down. At a meeting of the A.M.M.A Executive Committee held on the evening of Sunday, May 1, the matter was discussed. A few members were reportedly angered that their recommendation was being neglected and Vijay Babu continued in the executive committee of A.M.M.A. Actor Shwetha Menon, presiding officer of the IC and actor Baburaj, are understood to have threatened to quit. By the end of the meeting the association sent out a press release, saying that Vijay Babu has offered to stay away from the executive committee until he is proven innocent and his decision has been accepted.
Even the letter of Vijay, offering to stay away, has reportedly come after the IC pressed on for it. A certain senior actor is said to have questioned the powers of the IC in making such recommendations. "The actor said that the IC has no role in this. He pointed at another case which was apparently false and said this too could go that way. Then what is the point of having an IC?" an A.M.M.A member told TNM.
Along with Shwetha, actors Rachana Narayanankutty, Maala Parvathi and Kukku Parameswaran had become members of the IC when it was constituted in March this year. The Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) had been putting pressure for the actors’ body to form an IC for years, ever since the 2017 sexual assault on the woman actor allegedly masterminded by actor Dileep.
Actor Baburaj, another executive committee member, also confirmed to TNM that the IC had recommended the removal of Vijay Babu with A.M.M.A. Vijay, who is currently absconding and believed to be in Dubai, had come online on his Facebook page and revealed the name of the woman actor who complained against him. A second case was filed against him for revealing the survivor's name.
Years earlier, when actor Dileep was charged as an accused, for allegedly masterminding the sexual assault on Bhavana, the A.M.M.A. had taken a similar position. The association which had expelled Dileep after his arrest in July 2017, reinstated him a year later while he remained an accused in the case. This led to the resignation of four actors from the association, including Bhavana. When WCC members continued to question this strange decision, A.M.M.A. office bearers delayed further action citing technical reasons. Finally they came out with an announcement that Dileep offered his resignation on his own wish and that was being accepted.