Dileep’s arrest for actress sexual assault: The rot has been exposed

I could not believe when a seasoned actor and well-read man like Kamal Haasan was seen making light of an incident as horrific as sexual assault.

 |  3-minute read |   14-07-2017
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The Malayalam superstar Dileep affair is starting to seem like a Shakespearean story. There is laughter, there are tears, there is a sense of defiance and there are contradictions.

I could not believe when a seasoned actor and well-read man like Kamal Haasan was seen making light of an incident as horrific as sexual assault. During an interaction with the media on the night of July 12, when a reporter pointed out that the Indian Penal Code forbade the use of a victim's name in the event of a rape or molestation, he quipped: “Why not the name? Let it come. Don't hide that name, there is nothing wrong with that. If you want to call her Draupadi, call her Draupadi, don't call her a female. Nothing wrong with that." It appears incredible that someone should have used the name “Draupadi” in this context.

And then look at the photograph in The Hindu on July 14 where Dileep is seen with cops at Hotel Garuda in Thrissur. He is happily beaming, with no remorse whatsoever on his face.

Okay, let us assume that he is not guilty, but does he not regret the fact that a young woman all set to get married had been kidnapped, sexually attacked by several hoodlums and the whole thing videographed. Any human being should feel deeply unhappy and even furious at this horrific tragedy.

But much like a politician who gets convicted in a court and gets into a police van flashing a victory sign, telling his assembled supporters that he had been framed, Dileep also appears as mocking. His friends have also been saying that he has been framed.

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And interestingly, while crowds at every place where the actor had been taken to so that the investigators could comprehend the conspiracy angle, jeered and booed, his fan-club members are still swearing by their big brother, Dileepettan.

Maybe, they have been instructed to, for I know that some of the biggest stars in South Indian cinema like Rajinikanth, Hasaan, Ajit and the late MG Ramachandran, as well as NT Rama Rao, have had a huge fan base, a large part of it being made up of women. I would be surprised if women were to stand up for Dileep in this case.

What is equally bewildering is that the victim – who has acted with Dileep and who says that she fell out with him after a personal issue – has averred that she had no financial or property dealings or disputes with him.

All these need to be probed, but probably if the Dileep case goes beyond revenge and personal rift between the actress and the superstar – as is now being said – a lot of muck will wash ashore, and many heads can roll.

Dileep may or may not be guilty, but the fact remains that a young woman was brutalised in a moving car in a country that has been absolutely unforgiving of such a heinous crime.

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Writer

Gautaman Bhaskaran Gautaman Bhaskaran @gautamanb

The author is a writer, commentator and movie critic.

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