Kerala actor assault case: Survivor recalls traumatic journey over last five years

The 35-year-old actor said she was devastated by the trauma of the incident.
Malayalam actor Bhavana in conversation with Barkha Dutt (Photo | YouTube Screengrab)
Malayalam actor Bhavana in conversation with Barkha Dutt (Photo | YouTube Screengrab)

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: “I would rather give a strong fight without thinking about the outcome”, says Bhavana, the survivor in the 2017 actor assault case ending her five-year-long silence about the trauma she had undergone.

While giving a live interview to a private YouTube channel, ‘The Mojo Story’ in its program, ‘The Global Town Hall’, the actor recalled her trauma of being hounded repeatedly even after the assault case.

The 35-year-old actor said she was devastated and wanted to get her dignity back. Giving due credit to her support system comprising her husband, family members and friends and above all to the public who rallied behind her, the actor said with emotion writ large on her face that it was her sheer willpower that keeps her going. But her determination to put on a fight was evident in her words where she vowed that “my dignity has been shredded to a million pieces”. There were days when she felt that what she had undergone was all a nightmare. But she said it was not so.

“I am still scared, I don’t know about how the system works. I have this fear inside me. Sometimes I am really sad, angry and then want to fight. Despite having a wonderful support system around me, I still felt lonely. I was in the court in 2020 for 15 days from morning till evening, but not on continuous days. For every second I spend time in court, I was trying to prove that I am innocent. There were seven lawyers trying to cross-examine me and going through that incident from morning till evening. That’s when I felt I am lonely”, said the actor.

She recalled her perpetrators unleashing their tirade against her on social media after the traumatic incident. The actor who had acted predominantly in Malayalam films until the incident had taken a long break from her career due to the trauma.

She said there have been instances of acting offers being denied and without any qualms revealed the names of Ashiq Abu, Prithviraj, Jayasurya, and Shaji Kailas who offered her roles. But she said she had to decline their offers as she was too traumatized to come back to the Malayalam film industry.

“But now I have started working in other film industries. There have been days I wanted to settle down in some other country and start afresh. We should normalize first and come out from the traumatic incident. It took five years for me to come out. There have been other women around the world who have gone through the same phase. I felt really sad about their plight. The message I wish to convey to them is that I would rather fight without worrying about what would be the outcome”, added the actor.

Even when the actor was replying to the anchor, Barkha Dutt, messages were pouring in supporting her. Simultaneously, there were lots of troll messages coming in favour of the accused actor.

The actor was kidnapped in February 2017 while returning home after a film shoot and subjected to sexual assault by a gang of men. The incident snowballed into a major controversy when the police investigation revealed that the main accused had links to popular actor Dileep. Currently, he is out on bail.

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The New Indian Express