Recently AMMA had a huge program in Dubai and Kochi. The star power was overwhelming and pretty much every superstar or young actor or rising stars were there. As usual, Malayalees displayed their inferior mentality and spent time singing and dancing to Tamil and Hindi songs. But the rate of other language songs have decreased a lot compared to previous such programs.
As you look at the glamour behind AMMA activities, you see that the tentacles of the organization are everywhere. They make movies, conduct stage programs, offer donations to film actors who are in bad financial state etc. They also provide entertainment by fighting with other organizations and banning actors who won’t toe the AMMA line. All of this sounds fair since actors should have their own organization to have some unity and fight against exploitation by others.
But then we also have to look at the other side of such organizations. Any organization, if you can imagine, is pyramidal in structure, whether they are trade unions or political parties or corporations or NGOs. At the top of the pyramid are leaders, for example, people like Idavela Babu, whose contribution to Malayalam cinema is slightly greater than 0. Then there is pretty much everyone else who has done much to bring entertainment, money and jobs. Now irrespective of your contribution to cinema, the problem with the pyramidal structure is that the people at the top get to control people. If people deviate from the commandments, they get punished. Just ask Thilakan or Meera Jasmine. In such a situation, the organization which was created to prevent exploitation becomes the exploiter. It is like the Drohkaal situation where the interrogator gets interrogated.
A counter argument is that people who join AMMA are joining the organization voluntarily. So if they voluntarily submit to such abuse, then it is OK. The counter-counter argument to that is this question. If an actor disagrees with AMMA, can he find work? From Thilakan’s experience we know that life can be hard. Or look at Meera Jasmine. Or look at Suresh Gopi. He has disagreements with AMMA and they presented a skit in which he was ridiculed. It is this high school ragging mentality which makes us question organizations like AMMA even though it has put out lofty goals as its ideal.
Today, Malayalam film industry is being propelled by the so called New Generation movies. In the last few years there’s is an explosion in number of movies, and there is a huge number of new actors and technicians facilitating this huge revival. Are these folks getting represented in these organizations? Or are these organizations tools for the old guard to keep their control on the proceedings?