“There’s no big problem in the Malayalam film industry. You shouldn’t think of #MeToo as a movement actually. It’s a fad and it’s turning into something of a fashion. Anything like that will have a lifespan for a bit.”
However, he also said that he doesn’t know much about the movement but also said that sexual misconduct is something that happens at workplaces. Needless to say, his comment has drawn criticism from many corners.
Highly irresponsible and hypocritica of @Mohanlal to call the #metoo movement a trend. And he can’t comment on it because he doesn’t know? Aamir Khan has set a nice template for these people follow. https://t.co/ch0qvcy9PT
— Sandhya Menon (@TheRestlessQuil) November 20, 2018
Mohanlal took charge as the president in June with actor-politician Mukesh elected as the vice-president of the association, and Idavela Babu replaced Mammootty as general secretary. Actors Siddique and Jagadish were elected as joint secretary and treasurer respectively.
One of the first decisions the new leadership took was to revoke the suspension of actor Dileep. This left the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) seething and fuming, with them posing questions with respect to the abduction and sexual assault case of the Malayalam actress.
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Meanwhile, the #MeToo movement has already become a prominent in the Tamil industry spearheaded by singer Chinmayi Sripada. Chinmayi has been at the forefront in helping women from the industry (and outside) to speak up on the misconduct they faced. Right from the time when she outed lyricist Vairamuthu, several other women came out relating similar stories involving him. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Chinmayi has been facing a barrage of abuse and threats from those accusing her of seeking publicity and deliberately trying to “defame” a man of his stature.
In an exclusive video interview with us, Chinmayi highlights the points that made not just her but other women, too, to come out with their stories years later. Pointing out that shame and fear of losing out on work as a huge factor, Chinmayi elaborates that there’s immense pain and trauma caused when a woman is harassed and abused.
Bearing in mind the way victim-shaming comes into play, where it appears more convenient to blame the woman as opposed to holding the man accountable, the fear is real, the silence is louder than words. When questions such as “Why didn’t you say it before?” or “You must be lying as it happened years ago and there’s no proof” become overused, resulting in women being forced to keep quiet again. And while she stands to lose a whole lot, the man who has been accused of those charges, is seldom affected. Case in point – actor Dileep, Nana Patekar, Aloknath, Cristiano Ronaldo et al.
ALSO READ: The Ultimate Guide to Consent by Chinmayi!