Renowned Malayalam film actor and Member of Parliament, Innocent Vareed Thekkethala, sparked a row with his remarks for women while speaking to the media about the casting couch in the Malayalam film industry.
More popularly known by his first name Innocent, the member of Lok Sabha from Chalakudy constituency of Thrissur district on Wednesday said that the Malayalam film industry is now clean and no such thing as casting couch exists in the industry.
NDTV quotes Innocent further saying,
It is not like the yesteryear. The situation today is such that if there is any bad behaviour towards any women, the media will know immediately. But if the woman is bad, maybe they will go to bed.
The remarks of the 72 year old actor-turned-politician, who is also the president of Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA), an umbrella organization that comprises of all popular Malayalam film artists, have incited a huge controversy all over the country. His comments have also invited severe criticism from various organizations run by women and/or working for women.
In response to Innocent’s remarks, Women in Cinema Collective (WCC), a new organization representing the female artists of Malayalam film industry, led by actress Manju Warrier, in a Facebook post said,
Also SeeTop Most Characters of Mahabharata
New artists face several forms of sexual abuse while entering the film industry. Even our colleagues like Parvathy and Lakshmi Rai, have spoken about casting couch openly… We cannot accept the statement that the film industry is free from all kinds of sexual exploitation and there should be cautiousness in making statements in public.
Reacting to Innocent’s comments, state president of Mahila Congress, Bindu Krishna, said that his statement shows that he has no respect and is not tenable as the president of AMMA. Krishna went on to say that AMMA should be disbanded and all those who have self respect should come forward for that.
Soon Innocent made an attempt to clarify his statement in a Facebook post, and said,
Some of my comments to the media have been misinterpreted and published in a way that I did not intend. What I intended to say was that the environment for women to work in the film industry has become more women-friendly than before. AMMA will continue to work against all anti-women practices in the industry.