The AMMA should have invited the media to attend the general body meeting where Dileep was reinstated, said Mohanlal, the newly-elected president of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes. “It’s a misstep on our part and it will never happen again,” he said while addressing the media on Monday. Incidentally, this was Mohanlal’s first press conference after he became the AMMA president last month.
Talking about Dileep, who is an accused in the case of abduction and sexual assault of an actress, Mohanlal said that AMMA was under tremendous pressure when Dileep was arrested and was forced to take a hasty decision. “Different opinions were floating about and we feared that there would be a split in the organisation. We expelled him when the Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA) and other unions did the same. Later we realised, in AMMA’s bylaw, there is no such point that suggests he should be expelled,” said Mohanlal. He went on to explain that at the last meeting, several members pointed out that he was “innocent” and it was unanimously agreed to reinstate Dileep.
Mohanlal added that Dileep himself doesn’t want to come back to AMMA. “He is technically still out of the organisation. It’s a non-issue now.”
He further added that the bylaws of AMMA were written around 25 years ago and needed to be changed now to give more prominence to women. “We have got a letter from three members of the Women in Cinema Collective, asking for a meeting. We will look into it.”
Talking about the skit Mazhavil Azhakil AMMA, jointly organised by AMMA and the Mazhavil Manorama television channel, where AMMA took potshots at the WCC, portraying it as a ‘WhatsApp fold of pompous women’, Mohanlal said, “It was written and performed by women. Now people link it to current issues, and slam the organisation.”
Mohanlal further said that AMMA is with the survivor. “We never got a written complaint from her about Dileep lobbying to deny her of work opportunities. It’s unfair to allege misogyny. If they had anything to say, they should have said it inside AMMA. What is the use of talking about it elsewhere and citing the reason that they can never speak inside AMMA,” he said.
On the recent election, he said, “Anyone could have contested the election to the AMMA executive committee. The WCC members could have done that too… I don’t know if it’s true that Parvathy was dissuaded from contesting.”
AMMA’s decision to reinstate Dileep drew a lot of flak from all quarters. Following the decision, four members of the WCC, including the rape survivor, immediately resigned from AMMA. Others like Revathy and Parvathy have written to the organisation and asked for an explanation.
Following her resignation from AMMA, Ramya Nambessan told Silverscreen, “We have been taught to accept the view of the majority. We paid for the AMMA membership, we attended meetings, socialised with actors and came back to our world. But that’s not all, right? I truly thought I could fight from within the system. But I could not.”