BENGALURU: Mohanlal, president of AMMA (Association of Malayalam Movie Artists), has been facing flak for his decision to reinstate actor Dileep back into the association. While the AMMA has been facing criticism from certain activists and women's groups, the decision has not gone down well with members of the Kannada film industry either. Chetan, who is the founder and secretary of FIRE (Film Industry for Rights and Equality), along with Sruthi Hariharan, has sent a letter to AMMA secretary, Edavela Babu, expressing outrage and disappointment on behalf of Sandalwood regarding the decision to bring Dileep back on board.
FIRE has gotten support from at least 50 members of the Kannada film industry, including artists, technicians and producers. "The Kannada film industry and FIRE asks AMMA to immediately revoke its judgment of reinstating Dileep until all charges are cleared and uphold the moral compass that our film industries, at their best, possess. To recall, Dileep was expelled from the association in 2017 for being the primary accused on abduction and sexual assault charges, booked under 17 sections of the Indian Penal Code. Chetan says, "We have been following the issue from 2017, as it something pertaining to all film industries. The organisation reacted strongly by expelling the actor, which was a good move. AMMA has done some good work, so this decision of reinstating Dileep is shocking."
"With issues like women’s safety and gender equality being at the forefront of national debate, our cinema industries have strong responsibilities to blaze exemplary trails for the rest of society. We of Kannada Film Industry (KFI) and FIRE, ask that AMMA immediately revoke its judgment to reinstate Mr Dileep until all charges are cleared and uphold the moral compasses that our film industries at their best possess. We anticipate swift, sincere action from AMMA, upon which we intend to join hands in building safe and healthy working environments for all our industry personnel," the letter reads. The list of 50 members who have opposed AMMA's decision include names such as Kavitha Lankesh, Sruthi Hariharan, Prakash Rai, Roopa Iyer, Rakshit Shetty, Shraddha Srinath, Sonu Gowda, Diganth, Roopa Natraj, Meghana Raj, Aindrita Ray, Yograj Bhat and more.
"There should be a logical reason behind the association taking this decision. It is even more inappropriate since the victim has been a member of AMMA, and the accused has yet to be acquitted of all wrongdoing. This is definitely not sending the right message out - it only proves that people can get away with the benefits of stardom, wealth and connections, which we do not support," Chetan adds.