Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) president Mohanlal said on Monday that no member of the film body objected to actor Dileep’s reinstatement when the subject was discussed at the general body meeting last month.
Speaking to reporters in Kochi, the actor said, “There were many women among those who attended the general body meeting that day. The people who are raising voices of dissent today could have stood up at the meeting and raised a finger. We didn’t hear any of those voices that day.”
The decision to revoke the expulsion of actor Dileep, who is the eighth accused in a case of kidnapping and sexual assault of a popular Malayalam actress, by AMMA has prompted angry public calls for scrutiny and soul-searching. Leading the rebellion is the Women in Cinema Collective, an organisation of women artistes, which alleged that AMMA had insulted the victim by taking back an accused in the case which had not even reached its logical conclusion. Three WCC members and the victim submitted resignations and walked out of AMMA after the decision to take back Dileep into the film body.
At the press conference, Mohanlal said that the decision to expel Dileep last year at the time of his arrest was taken at short notice by the executive committee which met at actor Mammootty’s residence. It was necessary that that decision had to be ratified by the larger general body which comprises of 484 members, including 236 female artistes, he said. However, when the topic came up for discussion at the general body meeting, nobody objected to the cancellation of the order to expel Dileep, added the AMMA president.
“At present, Dileep is not a member of AMMA because he himself has said in writing that he does not wish to come back until he’s acquitted by the court. When he gets acquitted, we are ready to welcome him back,” said Mohanlal.
Mohanlal, who replaced actor Innocent as the president of the film body in June, said the subject of throwing Dileep out of AMMA had prompted angry, provocative reactions from many people leading AMMA, even taking the film body to the verge of a split.
With regard to the request of some WCC members to have a discussion on Dileep’s expulsion, an executive committee will be called as soon as possible, said the actor.
At the same time, he dismissed claims by WCC members like Parvathy of not being given an opportunity to contest elections to posts of president, vice-president or general secretary.
“Who blocked their nomination? It’s not true at all. If Parvathy wants, she can still get elected to any of these posts,” said the actor.
He also denied that AMMA had ever received a letter from the victim claiming that Dileep has been attempting to spoil her opportunities in the film industry. “We did not receive any letter from her,” he said.
Mohanlal stressed that public calls to disband AMMA must be rejected because the film body was engaged in several welfare activities for its members. “At present, 143 members are receiving a monthly aid of Rs 1500. We are also building houses for those in need and disbursing aid for accident victims. We are doing a lot of good work and charity. We must keep this going,” he told reporters.