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Dileep case: The anti-AMMA backlash has a larger message

The backlash against AMMA’s move — four well-known actresses quit the association — is a welcome move and sends out a larger message. It shows that the Indian movie industry essentially revolves around a few ‘star men’ and many have got away with improper behaviour in the past.

editorials Updated: Jul 02, 2018 18:14 IST
Hindustan Times
Association of Malayalam Movie Artists
(PTI Malayalam cinema’s superstar Dileep who was almost rehabilitated last week by the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) turned down the reinstatement, claiming he would return after “proving his innocence”. )

Nearly a year after his arrest for allegedly hatching a conspiracy for the abduction of a Malayalam actress and subsequent bail following an 85-day prison stint, Malayalam cinema’s superstar Dileep was almost rehabilitated last week by the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA), an all powerful industry body. Dileep had, however, turned down the reinstatement, claiming he would return after “proving his innocence”. The decision to reinstate Dileep was done in a surreptitious manner. The case was not listed on the agenda of AMMA’s annual general meeting and wasn’t even discussed beforehand.

Dileep is no ordinary actor. After Mammootty and Mohanlal, he is considered to be the third-most influential and powerful movie star in Mollywood. In fact, some of AMMA’s office bearers even sought to equate the victim’s plight with that of Dileep. This sorry state of affairs is not expected from Mollywood, which has always punched above its weight on the national and international platforms for delivering exceptional, progressive content even on slim budgets.

The backlash against AMMA’s move — four well-known actresses quit the association — is a welcome move and sends out a larger message. It shows that the Indian movie industry essentially revolves around a few ‘star men’ and many have got away with improper behaviour in the past. The revolt by some of the leading actresses of Mollywood is an indication that this time at least things will be different. Dozens of women filmmakers across India have also expressed “shock and deep disappointment” and a statement signed by 120 women urged the association to show “sensitivity and responsibility”, and operate democratically.

AMMA, whose diktats in the past has effectively rendered actors and technicians of the industry jobless, should ensure that justice is done in this case too. It should re-examine its decision to take back Dileep, and take that step only after the serious charges against the actor have been fully investigated. The organisation must realise that it represents the interests of all members and not just that of a few powerful men.

First Published: Jul 02, 2018 18:03 IST