It seems like a full-fledged battle between supporters and haters of disgraced Malayalam superstar Dileep is afoot on the internet. Dileep’s official website — dileeponline.com — is down and it looks like it has been hacked. A simple Google search for Dileep’s website will throw up the result and the site’s description reads, ‘Offical Website of Malayalam Criminal Dileep.” But, the website remains inaccessible.
Dileep’s website going down at a time when he is lodged in Aluva Sub-Jail for allegedly masterminding an attack on a female actor is no coincidence. It’s more like an expression of contempt by upset fans against the actor, who was once celebrated as ‘Janapriya Nayakan’ (people’s hero) of Malayalam cinema.
Until last week, Dileep was a force to be reckoned with in the film fraternity. And several high-profile names of the Malayalam film industry went at defending him hammer and tongs and some even tried to shame the victim to protect Dileep’s honour. The executive members of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA), that vowed not to allow the media to hunt Dileep, did not think twice before disowning him hours after he was arrested by the police.
However, the hardcore fans of Dileep continue to remain loyal to their favourite actor and have been doing non-stop campaign on social media in his defence. There seems to be a surge of pro-Dileep social media handles. A Facebook page called Dileep Fans Club has been carrying out aggressive pro-Dileep campaign to change people’s perception about Dileep. The said page has been sharing a series of posts and videos arguing that Dileep is innocent until proven guilty. The posts also attack TV channels, news anchors and news publications that provide unfavourable information about Dileep.
The paradigm shift in people’s perception about Dileep is likely to hit his upcoming films. There is already a growing clamour for boycotting his movies among the public.
Dileep has been arrested in connection with the kidnapping and alleged sexual assault of an actress and has been remanded to 14-day judicial custody. The investigating officers have said they have arrested Dileep based on “irrefutable evidence.”