CHENNAI: The cover story on Kerala actor sexual assault case accused, actor Dileep, in the Malayalam magazine Vanitha, which has the tagline "friend and guide to women", has kicked up a row on social media.
The magazine cover was released on social media at a time when director Balachandra Kumar has levelled fresh allegations against actor Dileep, an accused in the kidnapping and assault of an actress and colleague in 2017.
Bollywood actress Swara Bhasker was quick to slam Vanitha in her tweet saying that she is ashamed of it.
This man is Dileep- Malyalam film industry star (pretty incriminatingly) accused of sponsoring the kidnapping & assault of an actress & colleague in 2017. Spent many months in jail. On bail now. Victim has written to Kerala CM to expedite justice. Shame on you Vanitha magazine. https://t.co/nwfte7ouup— Swara Bhasker (@ReallySwara) January 6, 2022
Meanwhile, prominent actors and directors like Hareesh Peradi, Sandra Thomas and Arun Gopi defended the magazine. Arun Gopi is the director of the movie Ram Leela, starring Dileep.
Hareesh Peradi commented that if Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan could go to the US for treatment, then Dileep's photo can appear as a cover photo in the magazine. He claimed that a man, even if he is an accused, has the right to give interviews.
Noted Malayalam filmmaker and screenwriter Anjali Menon was left shocked.
"There are a lot of (sexual assault) survivors in our country. The absolute need of the hour is to tell the story of these survivors. I always wished to see articles reflecting progressive and positive values. Similarly, I wished Vanitha magazine also to cover stories of such courageous women in our society. However, now I doubt if I can expect it from them anymore. I am shocked to see such a personal profile being glorified in the magazine," she told The New Indian Express.
“This magazine cover only reflects the kind of stand and thought the group has taken in all of its publications,” she added.
The magazine featuring the eighth accused in the case, Dileep, and his family hit the stands on Friday.