'If this can happen to her, how safe are the girls in other industries and work places and in other parts of the country known to be less safe than Kerala?'
Priyadarshan is in a state of shock over what happened to the Malayalam actress who was abducted by her former driver and his accomplices.
Priyadarshan, who has worked with the actress, is distressed by what he considers to be distortions in the way the crime has been reported in the media.
"First of all, she was NOT raped," the well-known director asserts.
"How can something so grave and evil be trivialised by wrong reportage? I spoke to her after the awful incident and she clearly told me she was NOT raped."
"Yes, she was abducted apparently by her former driver -- who has been arrested, thanks to the swift intervention and action of the police officer in charge -- and his friends."
"They forced themselves into her car, stripped her and took pictures apparently with the intention of demeaning and blackmailing her," Priyadarshan added.
"It is shocking and unbelievable that this could happen in Kochi," he says.
"Here, it is a tightly knit community. Everyone knows everyone else, so no one does anything that would bring shame to the person and community."
"That such a heinous crime could be committed in peace loving Kerala and that too by the victim's driver is shocking beyond words," he says.
"How can women be safe in our country when those whom they trust betray them?"
The director wonders what the criminals hoped to achieve.
"She knows them. She can easily identify them. So I don't know how they thought they could get away with it. What is more, she is not a helpless victim."
"She is brave and progressive and she is a celebrity. She knows the most influential people in Kochi."
"The top cop, who has been assigned the job of nabbing the criminals, is known to be a man of action. He has already nabbed the main culprit, the driver, and the rest will soon be arrested."
Priyadarshan can't get over the fact that the crime was committed against someone so close to him.
"I know her very well. She is bubbly, chirpy, friendly, warm and innocent and very popular in the Malayalam film industry. So popular that there is a surge of solidarity and support for her from all over Kerala," he says.
"She is a joy to work with -- hassle-free, easy-going, and brings positivity to the sets. When she was around, we were smiling constantly. She is a sunshine girl."
"She spreads happiness everywhere. If this can happen to her, how safe are the girls in other industries and work places and in other parts of the country known to be less safe than Kerala?" the director wants to know.
"The entire Malayalam film industry has come forward for her," he says.
"She is engaged to marry a film producer. Her husband-to-be is standing by her in her hour of trauma like a rock-solid partner."
"They are getting married next month." the director says. "This incident in no way changes their plans."