The Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) has sought the government’s and the Kerala Women’s Commission’s intervention to ensure that internal committees are functioning in all Malayalam film production sets, in light of the sexual abuse allegations against filmmaker Liju Krishna, director of the upcoming Nivin Pauly-starrer Padavettu, and the film’s executive producer Bibin Paul.
The women who had levelled the allegations against them had demanded that their name be removed from the credit line of the film.
Padavettu did not have an internal committee. Mr. Krishna was arrested from the sets of the movie early in March this year, after the woman had levelled the allegations against him on social media and filed a case against him. However, he managed to get out on bail three weeks later and complete the rest of the film.
The victim, who is at present under treatment, had said the celebratory images of the accused from the sets had been causing trauma for her.
A woman who had participated in an “audition” organised by the director and the executive producer had also come out with allegations against Mr.Paul on Friday.
The WCC said the latest revelations pointed to the fact that fake auditions were being used to entrap young women. The collective also lashed out at the producers of the film, for ignoring the serious allegations and supporting the filmmaker.
“We have a system wherein movies which have used birds or animals as part of its sequences can get censor clearance only if it is certified that the animals were not harmed during the film shooting. However, the situation that they do not answer to anyone when a woman is abused is inhuman and illegal. Following a writ petition filed by the WCC, the High Court had ordered that all film sets should have an internal committee to ensure that the Prevention of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (POSH) Act is followed. But, several producers are openly flouting this law,” said a statement from the WCC.
A monitoring committee consisting of representatives from various film bodies had been formed under the leadership of the women’s commission for overseeing the formation of internal committees in Malayalam film production sets. The WCC expressed hope that rules would be framed so that the monitoring committee could act against those who flouted the requirement.