Dileep’s arrest: What this means for actor’s career, Malayalam film industry and Kerala politics

After an investigation spanning four months, the Kerala Police has arrested actor Dileep, on a conspiracy charge in connection with the abduction and assault of a popular Malayalam film actress. The court has remanded him to judicial custody for 14 days.

However, that has not ended the controversy surrounding the police investigation, which initially failed to see any conspiracy in the case. Neither has it subdued public anger against a section of Left politicians and film actors who supported Dileep.

Dileep was booed by the public when he was taken to jail and his business firms have come under the scanner. Meanwhile, public outrage continues against LDF MP Innocent and MLAs Mukesh and B Ganesh Kumar — who are all also actors.

Impact on the film industry and Kerala politics

A day after he was arrested, life seems to have come to a strange place for Dileep, who began his career as a mimicry artiste and rose to become one of the superstars of the Malayalam film industry (colloquially known as Mollywood).

Mollywood, where Dileep ruled the roost till just a day earlier, has come out strongly against him. A meeting of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA), held on 11 July (Tuesday), ousted him from the post of treasurer of the organisation and also revoked his membership. The producers’ association, FEFKA and cine exhibitors’ association (which Dileep) organised recently, have also removed him from their members’ rolls.

Dileep's arrest could mean a loss of Rs 100 crore for the Mollywood — a big amount for the relatively tiny film industry. Image via Facebook

Dileep’s arrest could mean a loss of Rs 100 crore for the Mollywood — a big amount for the relatively tiny film industry. Image via Facebook

MLA and actor Mukesh, who has been supporting Dileep, has now said that he never realised the latter was a criminal. It is being estimated that Mollywood will suffer a loss of around Rs 100 core following the imprisonment of the actor, as many films in which he plays the lead role, have to be cancelled (100 crore is still a very big amount in the tiny world of Malayalam films).

In the absence of Dileep, who allegedly controlled the ‘Kochi lobby’ of Mollywood, there is also likely to be a power struggle, which will give a chance to new aspirants to rewrite existing equations in the industry. However, it will not end there. The outcome of the case is going to be widely discussed and will definitely have an impact in state politics, as those who protected Dileep — including AMMA president and MP Innocent, and AMMA leader and MLA Mukesh — belong to the ruling CPM. Actor and MLA MB Ganesh Kumar had also won the elections with the support of CPM.

Many leaders in the CPM itself have already come out against those MLAs. In the CPM party elections, which will be held in the coming days, this will be discussed and the leaders who supported the accused will bear the brunt. Meanwhile, the leader of the Opposition, Ramesh Chennithala, has demanded an apology from Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the light of Dileep’s arrest as he had previously asserted that there is no conspiracy angle to the actress’ assault case. BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan also criticised the chief minister, saying it was Vijayan’s opinion that there was no conspiracy to investigate, which delayed Dileep’s arrest. He attributed the actor’s arrest to the relentless efforts made by the press and sections of film personalities to ensure justice to the actress-survivor.

The public response

The scene at Aluva Police Club when Dileep was brought there (reportedly after a second round of marathon questioning), revealed the impact of his arrest on three areas: his career, the Malayalam film industry and Kerala politics. Another important aspect is there was no surprise or shock in the crowd at the arrest. It was as if people knew who was behind the conspiracy.

A sizeable crowd, mainly youth, had gathered there. Everybody booed Dileep. While youth wing workers of CPM raised slogans supporting Kerala Police and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, supporters of the Congress and BJP shouted slogans against CPM MP Innocent for ‘shielding’ Dileep.