No bail for Dileep: Stardom shaken, his female fans won’t forgive and forget

What is new in this case and was never heard before is ‘contract sexual molester’.

 |  3-minute read |   25-07-2017
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Malayalam actor Dileep seems to be getting into a deeper and deeper mess, and Monday's legal setback for him is a clear pointer. His bail application was rejected by the Kerala High Court, and it minced no words when it termed the February crime of sexual assault on a celebrated Malayalam actress in her car as “diabolic”.

Dileep has been accused of conspiring to molest the actress - who was abducted while she was travelling on a Kerala highway, assaulted in her own car and the entire horrid affair was videographed.

What has never been heard before is “contract sexual molester”. I have come across killers hired to murder, and in Kerala, this is known as “quotation”. But “quotation” for raping a woman!

The motive? It is alleged that Dileep was livid with the victim because she had tipped off his former wife, Manju Warrier, about his affair with actress Kavya Madhavan. The assaulted star and Manju have been friends. Once his relationship with Kavya was out in the open, he probably had to divorce Manju. He then married Kavya.

Perhaps, he could never forget the fact that the victim had been the cause of his marriage breaking up. And this is being stated as the reason for Dileep allegedly hatching the conspiracy as early as 2013, and he was waiting for the right moment to strike - which came on a night last February.

The court averred while denying Dileep bail that there was “reasonable evidence” to show that his relationship with the victim had been strained.

Justice Sunil Thomas termed it a “unique case” and added: “Considering its seriousness, meticulous planning, cruel nature of execution and being a crime executed to wreak vengeance on a woman by engaging criminals, to sexually abuse her, courts have to be circumspect in granting bail in such cases.”

Also, the court felt that Dileep being a very powerful actor in Malayalam cinema, could easily influence or intimidate witnesses. Indeed.

A man who was literally the king in the Kerala movie industry - and who is said to have had the final say in matters relating to casting, production, distribution and exhibition - now stands facing virtual doom. Many agree that Dileep cannot emerge out of this crime unscathed. His stardom is bound to take a severe beating.

The public mood in a state like Kerala - where women enjoy much more freedom and respect than in most other parts of the country - has been swinging from one of outright rage to utter dejection at having to see an actor like Dileep, whom they had revered, fall from the high pedestal that they themselves had placed him on! Even his fan clubs are no longer sure about the innocence of their “Dileepettan” (elder brother).

And the producers of the three Malayalam films where Dileep has been cast as the hero must be extremely worried, having sunk huge money in projects that are now half done.

What is more, it will no longer be so easy to bank on the star - given the fact that in the southern movie industry women form a dominant section of the audience. We have seen this all too clearly in the case of MG Ramachandran in Tamil Nadu (where he was a chief minister) whose phenomenal success both on screen and off it can be attributed, at least to a large degree, to women viewers - and voters.

And probably women fans can be as extremely loving as they can be unforgiving, and in Dileep's case, let us not forget that it was a young woman who was brutalised.

And she was all set to get married, and one is told that her engagement ring was all too clearly visible in the video footage. Shows the viciousness of the vengeance all right.

Also read: Malayalam actor's assault case: Why I feel the entire film industry is complicit


Gautaman Bhaskaran Gautaman Bhaskaran @gautamanb

The author is a writer, commentator and movie critic.

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