NEW DELHI: A three-member commission tasked by the Kerala government to look into the problems faced by women in the regional Indian Film (Malayalam Film) industry has pointed to glaring testimonies of sexual abuse faced by prospective entrants and the presence of a casting couch.
The commission headed by Justice (retd) Hema and comprising of retd IAS officer KB Valsala Kumari and veteran actress Sarada submitted its report to chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan in Thiruvananthapuram Tuesday.
The commission was formed in the backdrop of the kidnapping and molestation of a leading actress in a moving car in February 2017
The commission was formed in the backdrop of the kidnapping and molestation of a leading actress in a moving car in February 2017. The Women in Cinema Collective (WCC), an organization comprising of women technicians and actors, had petitioned the chief minister to investigate the glaring problems faced by women in the Malayalam film industry with respect to the safe work environment, security and wage gap.
Among other issues, the 300-page commission report highlights issues faced by women actors and technicians in film sets vis-a-vis separate bathrooms and changing rooms. It also makes it clear that there is a casting couch in the industry and states with evidence that female artists entering the industry are often forced to undergo sexual abuse to get opportunities. Such complainants avoid registering police complaints, the report says.
The commission demands strict punishment for those convicted of crimes against women in the industry. It makes it clear that only with the help of strict legal provisions can the injustice in the industry be removed. Consumption of alcohol and drugs is also widespread on film sets, the report says. It asked for the setting up of a tribunal to investigate such complaints.