Actor and director Revathy is among the three members of the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) who have asked for an emergency executive meeting of AMMA.
The Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA) has taken back rape accused Dileep into their fold. However, the move has drawn flak from several quarters. Revathy, a veteran in the film industry, says that attitudes have changed over the years.
“Attitudes have changed around us, in our society, families and workplaces. There are many things which are being taken for granted. Especially with regard to women. I feel that these days, the courage to say anything and to force people into any kind of relationship has become much more prevalent than before. When you said a no vehemently 20 years back, it was understood that it was no. Now when you say a no, they kind of push you into a corner till you say yes. It has worsened,” she says.
However, it is not that the women are taking this quietly.
“Now the women have started talking openly. They’ve become more independent financially, they’ve become stronger as individuals. They are opinionated and there’s this male chauvinist world that is constantly trying to break them. Women are becoming stronger and independent in every way and there is a male chauvinist segment of the society that is trying to see to it that they don’t grow. I’m not generalising – because there are fathers, brothers and husbands who have supported the growth of women,” she notes.
At the AMMA executive meeting, Revathy plans to have a serious conversation with the executive members. “I’m hopeful that they will be receptive. That is how change happens. Very long back, Mahatma Gandhi said when there’s a change, there will be denial, resistance, fights… after that, we understand it. We will wait for that understanding,” she says.
It’s not just the men in the Malayalam film industry, like Mammootty and Mohanlal, who have thrown their weight behind Dileep. There are several AMMA women members, too, who have opined that the WCC is irrelevant.
Asked why such a perception exists, Revathy says, “I really don’t know. I feel that we need to not just think of today and ourselves, but we need to think about our children and grandchildren.”
“This is a path which has not been travelled on before. At the moment, we feel the WCC is necessary now, in Kerala. We are ourselves trying to put things together and make things happen. Once we set an example… because 1.5 years, whatever small things we’ve done, it may not be visible… but we’ve taken a very big step. Let’s set an example, do something here and then talk about the other industries,” she says.
Revathy says, “It’s the conditioning that it’s better not to speak out. That they have to keep silent about it. Don’t support the change. But when the change happens, people kind of automatically join in. They feel it’s better to be silent and sit on the fence, don’t contradict anything, don’t be part of the first struggle of anything. They want to sit back and watch.” Even Though over a 100 members from the Malayalam film industry signed a statement condemning AMMA’s decision to reinstate Dileep, not a single actor who plays the hero has done so. The younger generation, with the exception of Prithviraj who gave an interview in support of the WCC members, has been deathly silent.