The prolific Malayalam-Hindi filmmaker Priyadarshan is in a state of shock over what happened to the Malayali actress ‘B’ (name withheld), who was abducted and reportedly raped by her own former driver and his accomplices.
Priyadarshan, who has worked with the actress, is distressed by what he considers to be distortions in the way the awful crime has been reported in the press.
“First of all, ‘B’ was NOT raped. How can something so grave and evil be trivialized by wrong reportage? I spoke to ‘B’ after the awful incident and she very clearly told me she was NOT raped. Yes, she was abducted apparently by her former driver and his friends, who has already been arrested thanks to the swift intervention and action of the cop in-charge. They forced themselves into her car, stripped her and took pictures apparently with the intention of demeaning and blackmailing her.”
Priyan brings up the subject of women’s safety. “It is shocking and unbelievable that this could happen in Kochi. Here it is a very tightly-knit community. Everyone knows everyone else. So, no one does anything that would bring shame to the person and community. That such a heinous crime could be committed in tranquil peace-loving Kerala and that too by the victim’s own driver, is shocking beyond words. How can women be safe in our country when those whom they trust betray them?”
The distressed director wonders what the criminals hoped to achieve. “B knows them. She can easily identify them. So, I don’t know how they thought they could get away with it. What is more, ‘B’ is not a helpless victim. She is brave and progressive and she is a celebrity. She knows the most influential people in Kochi. The top cop, who had been assigned the job of nabbing the criminals, is known to be a man of action. He has already nabbed the main culprit, the driver, and the rest would soon be arrested.”
Priyadarshan just can’t get over the fact that this gruesome crime was committed against someone so close to him. “B is someone I know very well. She is bubbly, chirpy, friendly, warm and innocent and she’s very popular in the Malayalam film industry. In fact, so popular that there is a surge of solidarity and support for her from all over Kerala and Kochi.”
The director worked with the violated actress recently. “B starred in my Malayalam film Oru Maarubhoomikadha. She is a joy to work with, hassle-free easy-going and brings positivity to the sets. When she was around on the sets we were all smiling constantly. She is a sunshine girl. She spreads happiness everywhere. She is the CCL’s brand ambassador. If this can happen to ‘B’, how safe are the girls in other industries and work places and in other parts of the country known to be less safe than Kerala?”
The silver lining to this horrific crime is the victim’s support system.
“The entire Malayalam film industry has come forward for ‘B’. Like I told you, she is extremely popular and well-liked. She is engaged to marry a film producer. Her husband-to-be is standing by ‘B’ in her hour of trauma like a rock-solid partner. They are getting married next month. This incident, in no way, changes their plans.”