Updated: July 8, 2020 9:26:10 pm
Filmmaker Vidhu Vincent recently took to Facebook to share her letter of resignation to the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) of the Malayalam film industry, days after she quit the body. She said that the decision to go public with the letter, where she accused the WCC of bias and arbitrary treatment, was prompted by a false online campaign against her.
Her film Stand Up and the involvement of co-producer B Unnikrishnan, who is said to have openly supported actor Dileep, a prime accused in the abduction and sexual assault case of a woman actor, seem to be at the centre of the controversy.
Tracing the sequence of events, Vidhu Vincent noted that as she struggled to find a producer to back her small budget film, a few UAE-based friends agreed to bankroll it, provided she roped in Parvathy for the lead role. According to Vidhu, when the actor failed to respond to her script for six months, she approached Anjali Menon to mediate. She was asked to meet Parvathy on the sets of Uyare, which she did in vain, feeling “humiliated” as she did not even get a clear “No” for an answer.
Vidhu next approached Nimisha Sajayan and Rajisha Vijayann, who agreed to do the film. The remaining cast and crew were hired and pre-production work began for the film, which was scheduled to go on the floors in June 2019. However, one of the producers backed out due to a financial crisis and she found herself back to square one.
Despite the best efforts of director Anjali Menon and actor Sajitha Madathil, Vidhu Vincent said she was not able to find a producer. During this challenging period, director B Unnikrishnan came to her aid by connecting her to Anto Joseph. The film production began and Unnikrishnan eventually became a co-producer.
During the post-production work of Stand Up, Vidhu was informed by Anjali Menon that the WCC members expected an explanation from her on her decision to work with Unnikrishnan. The WCC was formed in solidarity with the sexual assault survivor, who was reportedly held hostage in a moving car and attacked in 2017.
Calling out the “double standards”, she pointed out that in Uyare, Parvathy acted along with Siddique, who had also publicly backed Dileep. Director Ranjith worked in Anjali’s Koode.
Vidhu Vincent also claimed that several members of the WCC have sought B Unnkirishan’s help at a personal level. She questioned whether such restrictions will also extend to theaters owned by Dileep and where his movies were screened. Mentioning that she will continue to remain financially dependent on future projects, she took the decision to tender her resignation to avoid such scrutiny in future.
The WCC is yet to respond to Vidhu’s claims.
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