“What conquest brings he home? What tributaries follow him to Rome. To grace his captive bonds in Chariot wheels” – Julius Caesar (Act 1 Scene1)
These famous lines out of William Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’ one of the greatest tragedies of all times spoken with utter disdain by Murellus, a magistrate of ancient Rome to a common man on the street waiting to see Caesar’s triumphant arrival after defeating Pompey is roughly understood as “Caesar’s victory does not merit a triumph since it involves no conquering of a foreign foe to the greater glory of Rome.’’
On Tuesday, when actor Dileep accused of orchestrating a gang rape on one of his colleagues walked out on conditional bail from the Aluva sub-jail, the sycophancy and adulation showered on him by scores of so-called fans raises the same cardinal question – What has the actor done to receive a reception that would rival perhaps what Nelson Mandela got when he walked out of Victor Verster prison in 1990 or half a century before him what Mahatma Gandhi got while walking out of the Yerwada jail?
Did Dileep go to jail fighting against racial oppression like Mandela or was he leading a freedom movement like Gandhiji?
Certainly not and more grievously, if the previous four bail orders are anything to go by, the court had made it clear that prima facie there is enough evidence to book the actor for gang rape which means there is a greater chance of him getting convicted in the case rather than acquitted once the trial starts.
Since we are not competent to speculate on the outcome of a case, perhaps we should leave it to the judiciary to decide. But what is unavoidable is to question the support the perpetrator has been able to muster from a large section of the society in Kerala which had been vocal and dramatic and which left no opportunity go wasted in attacking the victim of the crime.
On Tuesday whatever shame and self-respect that was left in average Malayalee was torn apart by his other face, a face that reeks of a mixture of sycophancy and hypocrisy of the highest order.
Sycophancy in the tinsel town is nothing new. Especially in the southern part of the country, it is an accepted norm.
But the problem arises when the same person who points fingers and laughs over its overdose in his neighbouring states replicates it in his own domain when the time comes. Tuesday was such an instant when your own words come to hit you hard laying bare your immense scoops of hypocrisy for all to see.
Not just that. The same society that called for nothing short of a noose for Govindachamy now considers Dileep an icon of harassment. What more do one need to see the double standards through?
But perhaps it is the very reflection of the society that Kerala is. The highly patriarchal society was once again writing another chapter in its notorious history of not able to respect the other gender in the society forgot alone holding them as an equal.
“I don’t think we should see this as hypocrisy. But this is the real Kerala where the psyche is so tremendously patriarchal that you don’t room for anyone else there. Whatever be the outcome of the case, that all this mass hysteria of support is being created for a person who is accused of such a heinous crime so willfully shows where the state stands when it comes to protecting a woman. It may be sad, it may anger you, but then that’s what this state is today,’’ noted woman activist P Geetha told Asianet Newsable.
Geetha’s words are further testified if one is to check the flow of events a few days before and a few hours after Dileep was sent out on bail.
A little-known actor and mimicry artist Koottickal Jayachandran, another ardent Dileep supporter took to Facebook with the picture of another rape victim, this time the seven-year-old girl from Kollam who was brutally raped and murdered a week ago.
Jayachandran went on to openly insult the minor victim by indirectly connecting the incident to Dileep with a snide remark that people would not have the time and will to lynch the perpetrator of the Kollam rape as it was not Dileep who was responsible for that!
Such was the unabashed remarks over the social media that for a majority of the first few hours after Dileep’s release, the well-planned PR effort from Team Dileep had a field day with little or no voices to counter it.
Take for instance another Facebook post that appeared a few hours into his release which asked every woman activist supporting the victim and standing against Dileep watch out or otherwise in all likelihood their videos and pictures would appear on mobile phones across the state! Stooping to such alarming indecency in the name of sheer sycophancy is perhaps a first timer in literate Kerala.
But there are others in the industry who say that all this sycophancy is a creation of Team Dileep itself. Though they agree that the actor still enjoys a huge fan base among young adult men in the state what was witnessed outside the jail in Aluva and at Dileep’s brother’s house are nothing but a stage-managed effort with money and muscle power to get the actor back on rails as far as his career in the industry was concerned.
“First they openly declared that Ramaleela was a huge success. But it’s been hardly a week and no theatre in the state is running full at the moment. This, in spite of tickets being purchased in bulk by the actor’s fans’ associations. Now that he got the bail, the whole show was stage-managed by Team Dileep and his PR team with the help of the fans based in Aluva,’’ veteran actor and director Aleppy Ashraf told Asianet Newsable.
On Wednesday more proof of this renewed PR campaign was once again coming to light. The Film Exhibitors United Organisation of Kerala (FEUOK) reinstated Dileep as its president. FEUOK was a syndicate that Dileep himself created to pursue his goal of ensuring a stranglehold over the release of movies across Kerala by controlling the theatres too.
After his arrest and remand, the actor was ousted from the organization to which within a few hours of his bail, he had returned with much more vigour. If there was any proof needed for the actor’s continuing dominance over the industry and its various elements this would more than suffice.
Perhaps Team Dileep and FEUOK had conveniently overlooked the conditions of the bail granted to him which clearly puts the onus on him not to directly or indirectly be involved with the film industry in such a way that it sabotages the case and influences the witnesses.
How the actor’s re-entry into FEUOK would play out in the court would be of immense interest in the next few days. Potentially if the court feels he has done this to influence the case, it can even annul the bail granted and put him back behind bars.
But perhaps this is where Dileep has hardly learned a lesson. Even after spending 85 days in prison there is hardly a tinge of remorse on his face as he walked out like a victorious general returning from a battlefield. Perhaps that sums up Dileep the person.
It is perhaps for the same reason that even when you think that everything that happened between his stepping out of the jail to reach his home as the sycophancy of a mob, you are forced to think differently.
The fans would behave at least in equal measure if not more to the flamboyancy the worshipped person openly flaunts even when faced with such accusations. Why blame the gans alone then. They are all appendages of the actor.
“Dileep should have restrained his brother from organizing such a huge reception for him. That would have at least sent the right message that yes I may be an accused but let me take my time to prove my innocence and till then I shall maintain a low profile. Rather than that this again became an opportunity for him to flex his muscles,’’ noted dubbing artist and actress Bhagyalakshmi told media persons.
Bhagyalakshmi’s words found resonance among many in the industry who now feel that Dileep should have learned a few lessons from the eternal bad boys of Bollywood and how they behave in the face of such adversities.
Salman Khan and Sanjay Dutt had not only turned into doves overnight but had also ensured that their fans and followers tow the same line. The sympathy then arrived not only from the people but even from the judiciary which is always ready to give a man a chance at redemption.
Media too falls for it
If one were to give the benefit of the doubt to Dileep and his fans because they naturally lack the social obligation to behave otherwise, nothing of that sort comes to the rescue of the vernacular media in Kerala that shamefully went to town with his release.
It was only a week ago that Father Tom Uzhunallil had been released from the clutches of the Islamic State. But the airtime that Dileep and his team received outside the Aluva jail and elsewhere completely outruns what even the missionary got by a huge margin.
One can understand the covering of the story and the ‘breaking news scenario’ that is generated out of it. But to dedicate the top slot of bulletins one after the other with sound bytes of his fans enjoying every moment was only playing second fiddle to a rape accused individual’s cheap show of strength.
“I think the maximum harm on Tuesday was done by the media in Kerala. They should have just reported it as any other event. See it is only because they know that the cameras will be there going live all over the state that such a thing was stage managed. Finally, you ended up glorifying a crime and its perpetrator,’’ noted activist CR Neelakandan told Newsable.