In an official joint statement issued through the Facebook account of Women In Cinema Collective (WCC) on Wednesday morning, a group of female artistes declared their resignation from AMMA (Association Of Malayalam Movie Actors).
The unprecedented move initiated by the women of Malayalam cinema comes two days after the new leadership of AMMA led by Mohanlal, at the annual general body meeting, decided to reinstate actor Dileep, a main accused in a controversial case of sexual assault and abduction of an actress in February 2017. Among the artistes who have resigned are Rima Kallingal, Ramya Nambissan and the rape survivor herself.
“I am hereby resigning from AMMA. It was not just the reinstatement of Dileep to AMMA that prompted my decision. Several times in the past, the said actor has tried to sabotage my career. And whenever I approached AMMA regarding the issue, they brushed me aside,” wrote the survivor. “Last year, when a heinous tragedy struck my life, AMMA tried to protect the crime accused. This happened despite me being a member of the organisation. Now, I don’t see a point in continuing as a member of AMMA,” she wrote, signing off the letter with her name.
In her statement, Geethu Mohandas noted that she should have resigned from AMMA long back, when it had become clear to me that even as a core committee member, it is impossible to raise a point or question the decision of the leadership. “It is a platform where our voices get drowned. I am no longer willing to let that happen. In solidarity with my dear friend, I am leaving AMMA. We will continue to fight for our rights from the outside,” wrote the award-winning filmmaker-artiste.
None of WCC members were present at the meeting where a section of AMMA members decided to revoke the suspension of Dileep. Later on Sunday evening, WCC had registered their protest through an official statement. On Monday, Rima Kallingal appeared on a private television news channel interview and spoke out against the injustice meted out to the rape survivor and the women members of AMMA. Mentioning a distasteful skit that AMMA’s senior members staged at a recent cultural show, AMMA Mazhavillu, that took sharp potshots at WCC, Rima said, “Things are black and white now. Everyone knows how they (AMMA) look at us, how they treat us. Raising a protest at AMMA meeting is out of question because it’s not a democratic space. Please don’t ask us to engage with the AMMA.”