The response of AMMA (Association of Malayalam Movie Artists) to the attack on the prominent Malayalam actress in February this year was on the most expected lines, I would say. We never thought that AMMA office-bearers would react out of the ordinary. Their world – in which they work, is a male bastion. And all of them are 'dons' in their own fiefdom!
Like in all other segments of life, male domination is reigning supreme in filmdom with all its fierce manifestations. It never dawns upon them that some among them did commit an injustice to the actress. Because, they do not even figure it out as a crime!
Is AMMA going to be dissolved for its stance in the attack on the actress? Highly unlikely! We have more than enough experiences to believe so. See, what happened to the VIPs who got linked to notorious cases in the past. We voted them to power time and again!
We won’t say Dileep did something wrong. But, nobody ever dared to point fingers at persons of his stature. It is unprecedented in the history of Kerala. Let the court decide whether he was involved in it or not. We are not buoyed by the arrest either. But, the 'Women in Cinema Collective’ thinks that this particular arrest proved a vital point - that everybody is equal before the law.
The actress - we all know her - took the most crucial step in this case, a very bold one in fact. A girl, who is always in the limelight, would most likely shy away from lodging a complaint like this, especially as she is about to tie the knot. Many would tend to cover up the attack and bury the bruises.
It is not like just any other complaint. Here, she has to open up on the angst and ordeal she went through in person. But, she didn't cover her face; instead she came out in public and stated her ordeal before the law. That was a brave heart. And it gave us the courage to stand with her and fight on. This is historic!
Most Women never find a voice of their own. They are not expected to complain. They are not even supposed to get angry. She has to pay dearly for complaining, protesting and standing her ground.
When we launched ‘Women in Cinema Collective,’ many teased, what it would bear? But these women may go and take a selfie with chief minister! When women say something, many get their tolerance tested.
As I surfed through the news of Dileep’s arrest, it was like witnessing a real miracle in Kerala. It is something that is not usual for a Malayali woman. The arrest of a person who is really big, whom we personally know and adored for his films, was a surprise, of course.
The earlier instances in which the names of prominent persons emerged in the list of suspects, the investigations conveniently steered clear of the VIPs. Bringing the VIPs to book is a chimera, women thought, till yesterday. When several such incidents in the starry world got covered up and complaints muffled, one girl stood up and spoke out. Even then we had not expected things to change much.
Anyway, I don’t think Dileep would run out of films and be crucified because of this incident.
(Deedi Damodaran is a script writer and a main organizer of Women in Cinema Collective)