Malayalam cinema: 2010 onwards

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Contents

2017: What the Dileep case exposed

Pimps, bouncers, criminals call the shots

Showbiz In Shark Tank : Pimps to bouncers, criminals call the shots in Malayalam cinema | Friday 14 July 2017 | Manorama Online (Reported by Unni K Warrier, Renji Kuriakose, R Krishna Raj and Joji Simon; Compiled by Tony Jose)


Unlike their counterparts in other states, movie stars in Kerala never felt insecure among fans to hire an army of bodyguards. Actors could go out and about without being mobbed.

Yet brawny men made their way into the shooting locations as bodyguards and bouncers and the gates were thrown open to thugs who offered their muscle power to anyone who cared.

The nexus paid too costly for the actors and technicians who employed them to execute their nefarious plans. The criminals knew how to script the industry’s course.

Scene No. 1 – Honeytrap

One of the earliest entry points of criminals into the showbiz in Kerala was seen in the 1990s, when an actor paid the price for a carnal misadventure. The episode started in a Gulf country, where a troupe of entertainers had gone for a stage show.

The actor was enamored by a girl and his aides made sure that he got what he wanted - with a bit of push from a criminal gang. Back in Kerala, the euphoria gave way to panic when the actor received a phone call from arguably the first female goon in the state.

She warned the actor that his “victim” was on the verge of suicide. She also told him that his act had been videotaped. The blackmail worked. The Gulf trip cost the actor a few lakh rupees.

The incident was a portend. Stars could find enough people to get them anything they want but it was impossible to know who mingled with them. Many of the actors played along. They relied on muscle power to have their way in the industry.

Blackmailing has grown to be a sub sector within the cinema industry but most of the victims keep it to themselves for fear of humiliation.

Scene No. 2 - Bouncer act

Remember the scene from Mohanlal-starrer ‘Chota Mumbai’, where Shakeela is guarded by a ring of bouncers? This is a real-life scene for the residents of Fort Kochi and Mattancherry.

Movie production managers hire bouncers to ward off excited fans and trouble makers. The only qualification for the job is a beefed-up body. Oh yes, a bit of reputation on the wrong side is a must.

The reliance on thugs is prevalent in Alappuzha too. They can ensure smooth shooting even on a hartal day.

The smartest among the musclemen quickly establish connections within the industry and make them indispensable for the rich and famous. They become the favorites of actors who want to show rivals their place or to expand shady businesses.

One of those bodyguards in Ernakulam is on the radar of the police. A leading actor hired him even though he has been accused in a handful of cases.

The preponderance of bouncers was evident at a recent meeting of actors in a hotel. The venue was out of bounds for any crazed fan yet there were as many bodyguards as the actors who went to the hotel.

Hiring a bodyguard is an actor’s prerogative. However, most of the bodyguards act as a link between their employers and the waiting tentacles of the underworld.

Scene No. 3 - Unhealthy partners

If you want to spot a star, there are three sure-shot destinations to frequent - health clubs, beauty parlors and boutiques. Actors want to stay shipshape and fashionable because that is part of their job.

Predictably, these places are frequented by starlets as well as criminals who want to establish connection with potential employers.

Main accused in the case Sunil Kumar, aka Pulsar Suni, knew the route too well. Before he drove his criminal career against a wall with the dastardly attack on an actress, he was a constant presence in the celebrity circles.

He kept his contacts alive by being in constant touch with a boutique owner in Kochi. The woman who owns the boutique has told the police that she had borrowed heavily from Suni.

The man with a history of kidnapping actresses found it useful to be close to a boutique frequented by potential victims.

The numerous health clubs in Kochi provide another meeting point for criminals and celebrities. Many of the actors pick their bodyguards from these fitness centers. Even straightforward actors fall for musclemen with dubious track records.

One of them is a goon from Paravoor who has nicknamed himself after legendary boxer Mike Tyson. His rise from a street fighter to a celebrity bouncer was phenomenal. He even played the part of a bouncer in a gangsta movie.

His role in the city’s underbelly came to fore when gangster Imtiyaz fell to a rival gang. ‘Tyson’ was among those who turned up to receive the body of their leader. The actor eventually got wind of his bodyguard’s activities and dropped him off the payroll.

Scene No. 4 - On the fast lane

Some of the drivers attached with film production units are hardcore criminals like Suni. All they need is to get someone to recommend them for the job. They soon advertise themselves as the go-to persons for anything from hired guns to drug peddlers.

Suni was a driver for a producer in Kochi. He made a name for himself as a loyal aide, until he grew ambitious and showed his true colors.

Suni had an assignment to pick actress Menaka from Ernakulam Junction (South) railway station. He had other ideas though.

Menaka was suspicious when a van arrived at the station to pick her. She called up her husband Suresh Kumar before boarding the van. The van was driven by Suni’s accomplice. He drove on the opposite direction of the hotel where the actress was supposed to be taken. Menaka protested and called up her husband again but the driver just drove towards the bypass.

Suresh Kumar called up the producer, who rushed to locate the mysterious van. The driver of the van spotted the producer, realized that the plan had gone awry and drove the van to a nearby hotel, where the actress was dropped off. She had just escaped a kidnapping attempt.

The producer later learned that his driver was the brain behind the mischief and the actual target was a younger actress.

The same gang had attacked and blackmailed another actress before that. They also tried to kidnap two other actresses. Had the police pursued those cases, Suni and company wouldn’t have been able to target their latest prey.

Scene No. 5 - Birds of the same feather

Criminals have an uncanny talent to get them entrenched in the movie industry. Some of them even share the limelight.

One of them played a minor but funny role in a recent hit movie. Few of the audience knew that the young rider intercepted by the police had already been taken into custody even before the movie’s release.

Ajith Kandangakkulam aka ‘Thavala’ Ajith had snatched chains from 56 women when he was nabbed by the police. About 100 sovereigns of gold was seized by the police from the six-man gang.

One of his accomplices would also go on to hit the headlines. Vishnu was Suni’s messenger after he was released from the Kakkanad sub jail.

Ajith, Vishnu and friends led a life of luxury with the loot. They went pub-hopping in Mumbai and Goa. There was a time when they shelled out Rs 10 lakh in Goa. They also spent on expensive bikes. With all the shady activities, Ajith had the gall to act in a movie.

Deceit

Superstar or super villain? Insiders point to a world of deceit and depravity | Sunday 16 July 2017 | Manorama Online

(Reported by Unni K Warrier, Renji Kuriakose, R Krishna Raj and Joji Simon; Compiled by Tony Jose)


The history of Malayalam cinema can be divided into two, a director said as news poured out that actor Dileep has been arrested in connection with the shocking attack on an actress. “Cinema before Dileep’s arrest and after it.”

Vinayan's comments were echoed by many of the insiders. They say that the tragic events were waiting to happen in an industry that has come to be dominated by criminal elements.

'Cruel joker'

Alleppey Ashraf, producer

When Dileep was taken to the Aluva sub jail, I was reminded of his role in sending a producer-distributor to the same jail 15 years ago.

Dinesh Panicker, who distributed Dileep’s Udayapuram Sultan</i>, was sent to jail after a check was dishonored. By the time the movie was completed, the producers had run out of money. They had to give Dileep Rs 1.5 lakh more as remuneration. Dileep insisted that they pay up before he dubbed for the movie.

Panicker offered to give Dileep a check as a guarantee even though, as distributor, he did not have to. The movie was released and it flopped.

Meanwhile, Dileep called up Panicker to say that he was going to present the check. Panicker told Dileep that he already owed Rs 25 lakh and pleaded with him not to present the check. Dileep did not budge. The check bounced.

After one and a half years, Panicker was visited by a police party and three advocates from Aluva. Panicker knew why they had come on a Friday. The next day was a second Saturday, when courts were closed. The police offered Panikker to let him go if he could pacify Dileep. Many of the producers called up Dileep on behalf of Panicker. Dileep would only tell them to let the advocates do their job.

Panicker was taken from Thiruvananthapuram to Paravoor. He was produced before a magistrate around 1 am. He collapsed in front of the magistrate. The magistrate ordered the police to admit the detainee into a hospital.

The producers hit back by calling for a boycott of Dileep for two years. Fellow actor Innocent tried to mediate on behalf of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA). Dileep apparently swore by God that he had done nothing to get Panicker arrested. He eventually withdrew his complaint and the producers lifted the boycott.

I felt that Dileep was a cruel joker. I have made three movies with Prem Nazir in the lead. If any of his movies flopped, he would be the first person to call up the producer. He had more than consoling words to offer. He would offer to act in the next movie to bail out the producer and the director

The recent developments show us how the Malayalam cinema field has changed.

'Power centre’

Tulasi Das, director

I had already cast Dileep in Mayaponman and Dosth when I approached him again to work with Kuttanad Expressil

Liberty Basheer had already committed to produce the movie but Dileep did not want to work with him. He suggested several names before zeroing in on a producer from Mumbai. I accompanied him to Mumbai. I even convinced the producer to pay Dileep Rs 40 lakh when he said he wanted that money urgently for his real estate business. He was to cut the amount from the remuneration.

Dileep changed the lead actress first. He also wanted the cameraman and the music composer to go. I refused. Dileep was cross with me. He went on a secret mission to Mumbai and lobbied the producer to get me out of the project. I was completely out of the loop. I came to know of it from a cinema publication. I pursued the case for six months but nothing happened. Dileep reached an agreement with the producer, who wanted the money back anyways.

I called up Dileep several times but he would not take my call. When I visited him at a shooting location in Kochi, he placed his leg on the chair in front of him. I was made to stand in front of him throughout. I was pained. My woes only aggravated after I complained against him in various trade bodies. Dileep saw to it that several actors refused to work with me. At least two movies had to be dropped because the producers backtracked.

Dileep’s henchmen would call up me and my family members to intimidate us. When I went to narrate a storyline to a superstar, he asked me if I wanted to file a complaint against him. Many of them refused even to meet me.

The greatest letdown was from an actress who made her debut in one of my movies. She did not even invite me to her wedding fearing Dileep’s wrath.

'Undesirable trendsetter'

Rajasenan, director

We had a decent work culture where even big stars such as Mammootty, Mohanlal, Suresh Gopi and Jayaram were prompt in coming to work once they offered their dates. Dileep was among the first actors who wanted a say in everything whether it was the choice of co-actors or light boys.

I have worked with Dileep in two movies. I was planning to make a movie based on Aithihyamala Dileep gave me his date after a Bengaluru-based producer agreed to invest. The project cost estimate was Rs 10 crore.

When I picked J. Pallassery as script writer, Dileep wanted it to be collaboration between two writers. We paid in advance to Dileep and the script writers. All of them started evading me after that. I soon realized that they wanted me out of the project as well.

Dileep went to Bengaluru to meet the producer and I was out of the project. Many of the undesirable trends in Malayalam cinema started with Dileep.

‘The avenger'

Vinayan, director

I had originally cast Dileep for Oomappenninu Uriyadappayyan . But I had to drop him when he pressured to change the script writer.

I had never bothered to talk against him in any televised debates about the attack on the actress. Dileep had called me up to thank me for that. He had hurt me a lot but I never thought he could do something like this. I was wrong. Dileep's revenge is of elephantine proportions.

Dileep led the formation of the FEFKA overnight to get even with me. He got many directors to resign from the MACTA in a single night. He also saw to it that two people backtracked after offering to buy satellite rights to my movies.

Malayalam cinema could be divided into before the arrest of Dileep and after it.

Avatar

Actors may be on-screen darlings but they seldom rise to their persona. A businessman had a taste of celebrity wrath when he signed up the actor’s former wife for an ad campaign. The actor called up the businessman and wanted him to drop the campaign. The businessman stood his ground.

The actor called up again, this time in a changed tone. The businessman was showered with a hail of abuses and threats. The businessman was witnessing another avatar of the actor, who was also a family friend.

Substance abuse

Light, smoke, inaction: how substance abuse fuels a crime syndicate | Monday 17 July 2017 | Manorama Online

(Reported by Unni K Warrier, Renji Kuriakose, R Krishna Raj and Joji Simon; Compiled by Tony Jose)


Malayalam cinema has a new villain to deal with - substance abuse in the name of creativity. A drug mafia thrives beside the movie industry in Kerala as celebrities smoke up to their heart’s content. Production unit drivers to bouncers, everyone cashes in on the demand for ganja and other narcotics.

The small-time carriers netted by police and excise officers have revealed that actors make great customers. They are always wanting and they pay like hell. There are other perks of being close to celebrities. Cops who trapped a carrier in Kochi were flummoxed by a call from a celebrity, who pleaded the police to let go of the supplier. The stuff was intended to enhance his acting it seems.

The celebrity circles have their dedicated channels to source ganja and narcotics. A native of Ernakulam has assumed the role of a wholesale supplier ever since he married the daughter of a don in Goa. In Kochi, he was protected by a superintendent of police. The officer has since retired but he is still close to the drug carrier.

The supplier caters mainly to the people in the movie circles. A producer is key to the trade. The businessman is only happy to let the dealers use his hotel premises. The police had zeroed in on the producer a couple of times but he proved too big to be nabbed.

Goa remains movie makers’ favorite destination for good reason. When the police step up the heat on drug peddlers, the entire production unit is shifted to Goa to ensure a steady supply of drugs.

This illicit affairs provide a fertile ground for criminals such as Sunil Kumar aka ‘Pulsar’ Suni, who is accused of torturing an actress on a highway near Angamaly in February. The police have reasons to believe that Suni had worked in Goa as a link between the drug lords and their celebrity customers in Kerala.

Drivers like Suni become closer to the actors by being around for any shady business. They are often admitted to the closed-door parties where alcohol and other intoxicating substances flow freely. The drivers gradually gains more control over the celebrities because they have witnessed a lot of unguarded moments.

Caravan of intoxication

Caravans parked around movie sets often turn dens of smoke. The motor homes are brought in by the producer for the actors to freshen up and change costumes.

A producer was faced with a strange complaint. Whenever a new-gen actor left the caravan after a few minutes in it, the room would be filled with ganja smoke. The producer checked and found the complaint of the co-actors to be true.

Actors are assured of a steady supply anywhere anytime.

When an actor and an actress from Mumbai came to a location in Kerala, their first demand was for ganja. The production controller said a firm no. He said he did not want to go to jail.

Two days later, the production controller was shocked to see the couple locked in an oblivious embrace on the corridor of the hotel. They had found what they wanted. The drug dealers could get past the production controller to reach their customers.

The new-gen movie makers prefer to discuss stories and do all post-production work in Kochi’s apartments. They give the hotels and studios a miss because places of residence offers them a safe corner to indulge in intoxication. Such a binge wasted a screen writer so much that he tried to molest a neighbor in the elevator. The other residents in the apartment rushed in to save the woman. The script writer has been sentenced to imprisonment for five years.

Everyone knows that actors are heavily into drug abuse. Yet only one case has been registered so far. Shine Tom Chacko was unlucky to have been caught with drugs from a flat in Kochi. Chacko’s companion got access to the flat from a contact she made during a night party in Kochi. The contact himself is a murder accused.

Substance abuse have derailed projects. A producer was ruined by a group of youngsters who were supposed to make a movie for him. The producer has spent Rs 3 crore on the project which features a young star.

The director and 12 assistants were youngsters too. The director, the cameraman and the 12 assistants were more into smoking than shooting. The shooting eventually stalled. The producer has been waiting for a year for someone to finish the remaining work on the project.

He had already spent a fortune on 60 days of shooting in Wayanad and Kochi. The sets have ruined. He will have to build it all over again to shoot the climax.

Substance abuse has become a trend. “You have to go along if you want to be in the business. Friendship is all important,” a young actor said.

Star power

As soon as actor Dileep was summoned to the Aluva police club, some of his colleagues rushed to a senior actor. They said Dileep was innocent and pleaded with the star to intervene on his behalf.

The star made some calls to Thiruvananthapuram and Dileep was spared for a few days at least. An actors’ lobby based in central Kerala had been trying to ward off an arrest. This lobby can influence in a lot of areas including government employees’ transfer to government policies.

The central Kerala lobby has become more powerful than the Thiruvananthapuram lobby it seems.

People in the showbiz often venture to other businesses. When real estate and other deals become shady, they seek patronage from political leaders. Their move is tactical. Involve politicians and policemen in their deals and be safe.

Some policemen are all too excited about the company of actors, as proved by a photograph circulated on social media a year ago.

A group of youngsters were waiting near Munnar to take a picture of an elephant when a police jeep entered the scene. The police officer was accompanied by a movie star. The actor was on a high. He even posed for a photo along with the young men.

The star had bought a piece of land in the hills. He had a standing dispute with his neighbor. The actor tried to intimidate the neighbor, who responded by filing a police complaint. The actor just wanted to show off his connections to anyone who thought of lodging another complaint.

A former on-screen baddie runs a great many quarries across Kerala in partnership with a top IPS officer. The duo even has a tourist resort in Thailand.

Blinded by glitz

The glamorous world of cinema is too tempting to resist for at least some of the police, excise and motor vehicle inspectors.

Dozens of officers, ranging from an ADGP to civil police officers, are awaiting government sanction to act in movies. Many officers are content by appearing as a guest in movies. Some superintendents of police and inspectors are familiar faces in movies.

They pay back for the moment of fame by offering some benefits to the movie makers and actors. Several stars are given a ride in a police car from the Kochi airport to the city so that they don’t languish in the traffic snarls.

Movie makers are forever in demand in the power circles. A leading director who was shooting in a jail was given a warm reception by a jail honcho. He was given whatever he wanted.

The officer even took him job to a sumptuous feast. As the director sat wondering what had he done to deserve such hospitality, the officer put forward his demand. His wife had an excellent story. You could make it into a movie!

Plagiarism, black magic, tantrics

Plagiarism to black magic, a horror story plays out behind the scenes | Monday 17 July 2017 | Manorama Online

(Reported by Unni K Warrier, Renji Kuriakose, R Krishna Raj and Joji Simon; Compiled by Tony Jose)


By definition, superstars are difficult to work with. They want the story and script changed to fit their persona. They want to fill the crew with their cronies and send home anyone who has rubbed them the wrong way.

Yet they stand by their commitments. They read a script, or get someone to read it out to them, and let the director and script writer know of his decision at the earliest.

A star rise in the 1990s changed the practice in Malayalam cinema. The actor wouldn’t listen to a story line. He would not spare a minute unless he is approached with a full script. That would keep the script writer busy for at least six more months. Another six months would go waste before the star finally lends his ears to the script.

Then the script would go to his coterie of relatives and close friends, who would recommend modifications to the script. The process would take years yet the project would be a non-starter.

The fresher, however, could take heart from the star’s releases in the meantime. Most of the imaginative situations and interesting jokes in his yet-to-be-approved script would have made their way into the movies! People in the industry would already be familiar with the script.

Then the masterstroke comes. The star would pose an innocent question to the script writer: “Why don’t we work on a fresh subject?”

This painful delay is a deliberate tactic to keep the screen writer occupied for a few years. The star does not want a script he rejected to be a hit elsewhere. He had been stung by such experiences. So he devised a plan to kill the work.

No wonder that the star has earned so many adversaries among the newcomers.

The cinema industry is ruled by superstitions. Some actors are known to hire dubious tantrics to bring about their rivals’ downfall.

One of the screen heroes is so finicky about his fortunes that he can’t plan anything unless an astrologer approves it. Ironically, the star has acted as a common man obsessed with zodiac predictions.

He would collect the horoscope details of everyone involved in a project, including the director and the producer, before fixing the crew. Not everyone was game to the superstition. A new-gen director-cameraman refused to work with the actor after he understood that the star was trying to analyze his zodiac sign. He gave the advance back.

The same actor once went to Haripad to employ black magic to destroy a competitor. Unfortunately, the tantric happened to be a neighbor of the target’s mother.

Small-time actors are a nervous lot when they are on the sets of a movie featuring the actor. He carefully scans through the extras in make-up to see if there is anyone who does not fit his schemes.

The extra actors could expect a day off if the star decides so. The star has a habit of blaming his flop movies on the extras who acted in them! So anyone who had the misfortune of acting with the star in a flop movie becomes persona non grata in future movies.

Artificial audience

Stars do anything to guarantee a hit and sometimes, to ensure that another stars’ movies bomb at the box office. The job is not difficult given the army of fans surrounding them.

A few years ago, a superstar movie was greeted with unprecedented booing on the first day in a theater in Kochi. The surprised theater manager found that the commotion was not so spontaneous. He immediately called up the producer of the movie.

The producer was not one who took it lying down. He pinpointed the gang who booed at the superstar at regular intervals. Faced with a fist on his face, the gang leader spilled the beans. He was a manager to another actor. He was leading a group of people to create an impression that the superstar movie was a flop.

Such backhand deals relied on the availability of a mass of dedicated people on hire. That explains the increased presence of criminals in cinema circles, personified by Sunil Kumar aka ‘Pulsar’ Suni, who is accused of assaulting an actress in an apparent attempt of blackmailing for an actor.

Veteran make-up man Pattanam Rasheed says that everyone in the industry is responsible for letting in criminal elements. “Malayalam cinema stooped to this low after stars started ruling over the movie, which is essentially a director’s creation. Even an internationally renowned director had to drop his regular make-up man to appease a star,” he said.

“This is a failure of the trade bodies and unions. The criminal (Suni) had been working as a driver in the industry for seven years. Why did no one ask for his union membership or identity card?”

The criminals viewed cinema as a fertile ground to thrive. They have made themselves integral to shooting sets.

A leading director in Malayalam found himself trapped in such a snare in Kochi. The cameras had just started rolling on his movie when a local goon descended on the location. Unable to ward off the menace, the production managers just hired him as a bouncer!

Such criminals merged their shady deals including drug peddling with showbiz. Rave parties became a part of Kochi’s cityscape.

The goons cemented their position in the industry with the emergence of various associations. Actors and technicians formed their associations. Then they split them to form new ones. The office-bearers of rival associations vied with each other to attract as many members to their fold, without bothering to check the credentials of the new entrants. The doors were officially opened for goons.

Some of them even tried to get themselves elected as leaders. Members of an association were surprised when a two-movie director was nominated to the executive council. The office-bearers simply told them that the novice director could be useful to them because of his connections in the gangs of Kochi.

Dangerous co-existence

‘Pulsar’ Suni was a regular in cinema circles even before he offered his services to Dileep. He had worked as a driver for another actor for sometime. Once, Suni was assigned to drive the actor’s fiance to Palakkad.

Midway, Suni bumped the car into another car. There was a commotion and Suni dramatically announced that the car belonged to the actor. The curious crowd poked their noses inside to see the celebrity.

The terrified woman called up her fiancee, who told Suni to settle the dispute immediately by paying whatever damage they asked for.

The actor was smart enough to realize that the accident was staged by his driver to make him pay up. He told Suni not to come to work until he asked him to. Then the driver showed his true colors. He visited his former employer in a set in Kochi with a group of menacing friends. The actor had the good sense to send him off somehow.

The criminal coexistence most often proves a liability for celebrities. Actors who rely on goons’ services would be obliged to bail them out in times of distress. They end up as accomplices in serious cases including assault and murder.

The Paper Babu murder case in Ernakulam South was one such instance. Babu was killed by goons who were linked to the cinema industry. The killers sought refuge at their leader’s den after the murder. The gang leader took them to the house of an actor. The killers fled to Tamil Nadu in the actor’s car.

The actor later died in mysterious circumstances. His affinity to the goon was an open secret. He fell out with the gangster a few months before his death because the criminal had sent overtures to a woman close to him.

Gender equations

Nidheesh M.K.| Why actor Dileep’s arrest could be a game changer in Kerala | Wed, Jul 12 2017| Live Mint


Bengaluru: A sexual assault on a female actor in Kerala has created fissures in the film community, spawned a new group of women actors and exposed the influence exerted by top stars.

But the entire [Dileep] episode is no longer just about what happened to one woman, as writer N.S. Madhavan noted on Twitter.

The state movie actors’ association—where Dileep was an executive committee member until his ignominious firing [in July 2017]—has not come out to support the victim, prompting protests and its women members to break away and form a group called the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC). The group has vowed to end misogyny in movies as well as at the workplace. Its strong criticism of two actors who named the victim on Facebook prompted both to apologize. After the arrest, Dileep was also removed from the association of actors and technicians.

The silence of actors Mammootty and Mohanlal did not go unnoticed either. There were protests outside Mammootty’s house where the actors’ association had met. After the meeting, Mammootty announced the suspension of Dileep and said the association stands by the woman actor.

Yet, the silence of the top guns at an association press conference a fortnight ago where leading male actors like Innocent and Mukesh pitched for equal protection to the accused and the victim continues to rankle with the public. Comments by Innocent, the association’s president, denying exploitation of women in the film industry also created a furore.

It is not often that top actors in the Malayalam movie industry find themselves so powerless and at the receiving end of public anger, having to apologize for something or the other on a daily basis, said a Malayalam movie director, who did not wish to be named. Frustration has been growing, he added, especially among a younger generation of artistes about how veterans use kid gloves when it comes to sexism and crime. The anger tipped over with the abduction.

Politically, Dileep’s arrest has lifted the spirits for the government which was on the back foot after several recent cases of atrocities against women. While last year’s rape and murder of Dalit woman Jisha showed the vulnerability of the poor, the attack on the actor showed the rich and successful women weren’t safe either.

“Dileep is the kind of person who has all the right connections,” said K.J. Jacob, political analyst and executive editor of newspaper Deccan Chronicle in Kerala. “He is not only one of the biggest names in Kerala, but also hugely influential. That the police dared to arrest him, and the government allowed them to function in that way, sends out a signal for the common man, who had almost lost faith in the system,” said Jacob.

“One thing we can say with certainty right now is that the case has become a game changer in many ways,” he said.

See also

The previous contents of the page that you are reading have been shifted to Box office records of Malayalam films

Malayalam cinema: 2010 onwards

Dileep (Gopalakrishnan Pillai)

Bhavana (Karthika Menon)

…and several other pages on Malayalam cinema.

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