Celebrities are perceived to breathe off the rarified atmosphere of their ivory towers, dining off silver plates, having a platoon of servants at their beck and call and living a car to carpet existence. Female actors are thought to be immune to physical violence surrounded as they are by personal drivers, industry aides and accompanying family members. But the shocking kidnap of actor Bhavana by a gang who hijacked her car at a remote place in Athani and kept her captive for two hours, assaulting and clicking semi-nude pictures before dropping her at Kakkanad reads like a plot from a movie with the reported involvement of her ex-driver. The actress was travelling in the night to reach a dubbing studio.
The film fraternity has been rattled and the first reaction is one of shock. Bhavana, who has proved her mettle across the Southern industries, is known to be frank and bold and all her industry friends unanimously use the word ‘strong’ while referring to her.
Anoop Menon who shares a warm and close friendship with Bhavana and family is still coming to grips with what happened to his buddy. Speaking from Bengaluru, he says, “I was just speaking to her brother and she was sleeping. The ordeal has been too much for her and she is in shock. My primary concern was to know if she was okay. This incident has rattled me but it takes a very brave woman to come out in the open and file a complaint with the police. She is a very bold girl and knowing her, I am sure her concern was that what happened to her should not repeat itself with any other woman!”
Anoop adds that more and more women are staying out late as a part of their profession but incidents like this hammer in the fact that it is not safe for a woman to step out at night. He adds, “Like men, women should also have the freedom to be out at night without any fear and it is up to the public and the government to ensure this.”
The same thoughts are echoed by her co-star and friend Vinay Forrt who says Bhavana has no qualms calling a spade a spade. He glumly says, “I feel sad that a barbaric incident like this happened to a dear friend. I feel guilty as a man and incidents like this put the entire male species under a scanner.”
He adds: “She is never a person to provoke anybody and I feel this whole incident was a planned one. There is no bigger crime or offence than a physical crime committed against a woman. That is the lowest and most animalistic of all crimes and the punishment should be such that no man ever attempts any such act in future!” Vinay adds that Bhavana is one of the few close friends he has in the industry and echoes Anoop’s sentiment that going to the police is her way of ensuring that such a crime is not committed again.
Miya George who shared screen space with Bhavana in Hello Namasthe fumes, “This is so shocking! It is not possible to have a man accompanying us every time we travel as a part of our profession. Usually it is the mothers who accompany most actors. But once we leave the state it is not possible. So we are on our own, trusting the travel and stay arrangements made by the production team. This incident has been an eye-opener for our fraternity that we have to be more careful in future.”
Miya adds, “Bhavana was travelling as a part of her work. Her perpetrators should be scared now that she has filed a complaint. No mercy should be shown to them. Their names, addresses and faces should be publicised so that it serves as a deterrent to others. Women have the right to travel and no one has a right to curb that with such acts!”
A director who has worked with Bhavana, V.K. Prakash comes out strongly against the false morality of Kerala. “Such an incident should not happen to any woman! The perpetrators should be caught and locked away for life. Bhavana would have been so scared and I feel for her,” he says. “I have so many women assistant directors and costume designers working for me and I always try to make women comfortable at any point of time. There are lots of women interested in the Visual arts but how will they work when such incidents happen?”
AMMA member Edavela Babu assures that the association members are doing whatever they can to bring the perpetrators to book. Expressing his concerns about a production vehicle being involved, he mentions that such vehicles are perceived as secure. Condemning the incident, he adds, “Mukesh, Suresh Gopi and Ganesh Kumar are following up.”...