When it comes to the South industry, there is always something happening. This year, like every other had its fair share of shocking controversies. Right from the infamous GST dialogues in Mersla to the scandalous molestation case in Mollywood to the shocking Suchi leaks to Ashok Kumar’s demise – This year has witnessed a little bit of everything. As the year comes to an end, let’s take a look at all the controversies that made heads turn! Here goes:
The anti-GST dialogues in Mersal
Although Thalapathy Vijay’s Mersal is one of the true-blue blockbusters of 2017, the fact that it attracted more footfalls following the social media furore it created for the anti-GST dialogues and anti-establishment lines is quite undeniable. After BJP Tamil Nadu leaders such as H Raja and Tamilisai Soundararajan passed caustic remarks on Vijay’s religion with wild accusations, politicians from across various parties including Rahul Gandhi, Shashi Tharoor to name a few vocally came out in support of Vijay and Thenandal Studios Limited, which produced by the film directed by Atlee. The movie went on to become a blockbuster at the worldwide box-office and became the first film of Vijay to surpass the Rs. 250 crore gross mark. Also Read: Mersal movie review: Thalapathy Vijay’s enigmatic presence and Atlee’s class direction assures a crackling Diwali
Kamal Haasan’s Hindu-terrorism remarks
After Kamal Haasan’s foray into television with the first edition of the reality show Bigg Boss in Tamil, he has been making the headlines with his punchy, cryptic remarks on his Twitter page. Haasan’s criticism that there’s Hindu extremism within the right-wing angered the BJP politicians who issued death threats to the actor. Later, Haasan had to clarify saying, “I’m not anti-Hindu as everyone thinks. And I don’t intend to hurt Hindu sentiments as I myself belong to a Hindu family but have taken a different path. Violence, irrespective of any religion you practise, is condemnable. I did not use the word terror, the word I used was extreme. There’s a difference between terrorism and extremism. And, don’t call me an atheist. I’m a rationalist,” said Haasan on the occasion of his birthday.
Abduction and sexual assault of popular Malayalam actress
The issue that shattered the entire south film industry was the abduction and sexual assault of a Malayalam actress by a group of people at the behest of popular actor Dileep. After an investigation, Kerala police arrested Dileep for hatching the plot along with prime accused Pulsar Suni. On February 17th, while the actress was on her way home from Thrissur to Kochi after shooting for a film, she was kidnapped and molested in a moving car. Following the incident, Kerala police arrested Dileep in connection for conspiring with the accused on July 10th. The arrest and subsequent judicial detention of Dileep sent shockwaves across the Malayalam film industry since he was one of the most powerful actors who enjoyed influential posts such as the president of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA). After submitting a plea for the fifth time, Dileep, who has been in prison since July 10th, was granted bail by the Kerala High Court.Also Read: Speculation to arrest: Here’s all you need to know about Dileep’s alleged involvement in the Malayalam actress abduction case
The #SuchiLeaks Scandal
In March 2017, popular playback singer and RJ Suchitra Karthik leaked a series of private pictures and pornographic videos of high-profile celebrities such as Dhanush, Trisha Krishnan, Hansika Motwani, Andrea Jeremiah, Anirudh Ravichander, Anuya and Sanchita Shetty through her Twitter page and stirred up a hornet’s nest. She also posted a series of controversial tweets against singer Chinmayi, who came back with a sharp riposte then. Suchitra later revealed in a video interview that her Twitter account was hacked and that she had to file a complaint with the cyber crime department. Also Read: Amala Paul has a sassy response to the suchileaks controversy
Suchitra’s husband Karthik through a video message said, “All the people mentioned in the tweets have been patient enough to understand that this could happen to anyone and not to take it personally. I really value all of that. There is nothing personal in all of this, and it is more indicative of whatever condition she is going through. I request members of the press not to go to town about this and not to take any of those ‘facts’ seriously. Please treat her like you would as a member of your own family.”
Pro-Kannada activists’ protest on Baahubali 2 in Karnataka
The makers of magnum-opus Baahubali 2 were in for a rude shock when Vatal Nagaraj, president of Kannada Chalavali Vatal Paksha, a regional pro-Kannada political party, opposed the film’s release in Karnataka for actor Sathyaraj’s demeaning comments on Kannadigas a few years ago during the Cauvery River Water Dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Later, Sathyaraj who played the popular role of Kattappa in the film apologized for his remarks through a video statement. “ I would like to apologise for the statement that I had made nine years back and would like to say that I am a small worker in Bahubali film and my comment should not affect the film,” said Sathyaraj. Filmmaker SS Rajamouli had also appealed to the pro-Kannada activists to allow the release of the movie before all decks were cleared.
Tollywood drug racket
Telangana excise department’s special investigation team (SIT) made a series of raids in connection with the involvement of Tollywood actors in a massive drug racket. The scandal shocked the industry since the names of several high-profile celebrities such as director Puri Jagannadh, actress Charmie Kaur, actor Navdeep, Mumaith Khan and a few others were discussed.
SIT questioned each celebrity involved in the drug racket between July 19 and 27, thereby turning the spotlight on Telugu film industry. Veteran producers Allu Aravind and Suresh Babu, on behalf of Movie Artistes’ Association (MAA), warned aspiring and established actors from the film fraternity to stay away from drugs. They also issued a stern warning at a press conference to those who were tarnishing the image of the industry.
The Ashok Kumar Suicide
The suicide of film producer Ashok Kumar, who is also a friend of actor-director Sasikumar, opened a can of worms in Kollywood regarding the illegitimate ways of film financing in the industry. Ashok Kumar directly blamed influential financier Anbu Cheziyan in his suicide note, following which a special team was appointed by the Chennai police department to arrest him. The Tamil film industry was a divided lot since there were two factions: one who accused Anbu Cheziyan of his nefarious ways and the other who lavishly praised him for being kind and a gentleman.
Gnanavel Raja, Vishal, Ameer, Karu Palaniappan, CV Kumar vocally registered their thoughts against Anbu Cheziyan. On the other hand, Devayani, who was rumoured to be harassed by Anbu Cheziyan a few years back when she produced Kaadhaludan by taking finance from him, Vijay Antony and Kabali producer Kalaipuli S Thanu, praised him to the sky for his timely help.
“Director Sasi Kumar is a good human. I am deeply worried by the loss of his kin Ashok Kumar. Ashok Kumar shouldn’t have taken his life leaving his family in a helpless situation. For the past six years, I have been regularly taking money as a loan from Producer / Film Distributor Anbu Chezhian and repaying it promptly. He has never misconducted himself. He has been portrayed in an exaggerated manner. 99 percent of Tamil filmmakers have made it to their place by taking loans only. I am always against suicide. Since my father committed suicide, I was forced to contend with the pain and after effects of it. Let Ashok Kumar’s death be the last. I too have debts and working to repay. Let his soul rest in peace,” said Vijay Antony.
( Text by Surendhar MK)