Vanitha magazine cover featuring Dileep and her family sparks outrage

The January 2022 issue comes days after Dileep’s former friend, director Balachandra Kumar, made serious allegations against him in an actor assault case.

The latest issue of Vanitha magazine, published by the Malayala Manorama group, has sparked massive outrage on social media. On the cover of Malayalam magazine, published by the Manorama group, is actor Dileep accompanied by his two daughters and his wife Kavya Madhavan. He is carefully positioned as a family man, dominating the two girls and Kavya. The January 2022 issue comes days after Dileep’s “former friend”, director Balachandra Kumar, made serious allegations against him in the actor assault case.

Dileep is accused of being the mastermind of the crime which took place in February 2017. A prominent actress in the Malayalam film industry was abducted and sexually assaulted in a moving vehicle by a group of men. The trial in the case was coming to an end when Balachandra Kumar’s allegations surfaced, prompting police to investigate further. Vanitha’s decision to wear Dileep’s photograph on the cover page under such circumstances is seen by many as an attempt to whitewash her image.

The cover story, written by Vijeesh Gopinath, paints a sympathetic portrait of Dileep, describing the last five years of his life as a “storm-tossed ship” and adds that he started talking to the interviewer with ” the face of a captain who will protect those who accompany him in any storm”. The interview describes the poverty of his childhood and his family life, later projecting him as the victim of a conspiracy. The question posed by interviewer Vijeesh is, “Every time your new movie comes out, new controversies arise.” To that, Dileep says, “It happened earlier too, this attempt to portray me as a villain when my movie comes out.” He adds that he doesn’t know why “some people have this enmity towards me”.

Claiming he was predicted to die before his 48th birthday, Dileep processes the interview to turn into a victim, saying, “It’s also a type of death. I’m lucky to have seen a lot of people kill me when I’m alive. The interviewer asks Dileep if he ever wanted to kill himself, to which the accused replies, “No, I only pray to stay alive and be mentally stable until the truth is proven’ about all his ‘pain’ one day his wife Kavya steps in to say she told him to write about everything he’s been through, mentioning each person involved.

Many people on social media have slammed Vanitha and the Manorama group for the blatant show of support for the accused, even as new evidence of Dileep’s alleged involvement is investigated. Audio clips shared by Balachandra Kumar were shown on several news channels. These clips, if found to be genuine, suggest that Dileep was in possession of the assault video long before he and his legal team viewed it in the magistrate’s chamber at Angamaly Court. The mother of Defendant No. 1 Pulsar Suni also handed over a letter that her son allegedly wrote detailing the crime. In the letter allegedly written by Suni, he claimed to have committed the crime at Dileep’s request. He allegedly told his mother that he was writing down the details because he feared for his life.

Commenting that it was “anti-Vanitha” (Vanitha means “woman”) to post such a cover page at this point, many on social media expressed outrage and disappointment with the magazine.

Amanda P. Whitten