WCC members disappointed

Members of the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) did not hide their dismay when they were told on Sunday that the contents of the Hema committee report could not be made public.

The committee had looked into issues of gender inequality and sexual harassment in the Malayalam film industry in the wake of the sexual assault on an actor in Kochi in 2017. It was after a meeting with the Kerala Women’s Commission functionaries at the Government Guest House, Kozhikode, that the WCC members realised that this panel had not been set up under the Commission of Inquiry Act and its report need not be placed in the Assembly.

Film-maker Didi Damodaran, who was among the WCC members that met women’s commission chairperson P. Sathidevi, said there had been some confusion why it had not been happening. Now that the commission had spoken on it, they would knock on every possible door to make it accessible to the public.

Gender sensitive

“All of us know how important it is to be gender sensitive. That is why we thought of starting with the women’s commission. If there is no action from their side, we will perceive it as a statement [on their stand]. We don’t have time to wait,” Ms. Damodaran said.

Actor Parvathy Thiruvoth said that only irrespective of whether the committee report could be or cannot be made public, only the government was left with the powers to do it. “The committee was set up after we met the Chief Minister. We expect that based on its recommendations and the interactions with stakeholders, a proper cinema policy will evolve. We are going to meet other Ministers,” she said. Actor Padmapriya said the committee report was not just about sexual harassment, but other issues as well. If a progressive step had to be taken with the industry support, it had to be made public, she said.

She came down on the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA), whose members claimed that they respected the actor who faced the assault. After the general body meeting, AMMA president said that those who went out of the organisation after the episode, including the survivor, could come back if they applied for membership again. “The first step towards respect is to take her back unconditionally,” Ms. Padmapriya said.

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Printable version | May 29, 2022 4:42:54 am |