Mohanlal as chief guest at awards ceremony opposed

Mohanlal as chief guest at awards ceremony opposed

Malayalam actor Mohanlal. file photo

The presence of actor Mohanlal as chief guest in the upcoming 48th Kerala State Film Awards ceremony has set off a controversy with a group of film professionals and writers opposing the move to bring in star appeal to a state function.

A joint statement has been issued against the state government’s reported move to invite Mohanlal to the event, scheduled for August 8 in Thiruvananthapuram, with signatures of 108 artistes, writers, film technicians and journalists.

Filmmakers Sanal Kumar Sasidharan and Rajeev Ravi, writers N S Madhavan, K Satchidanandan and Sethu, and actors Prakash Raj and Rima Kallingal are among those who have signed the joint statement.

Though the statement does not name Mohanlal, they said the award ceremony should be a “simple and elegant” event modelled on the National Film Awards ceremony where the President of India gives away the awards.

The state film awards should be given away by the chief minister in the presence of the minister for culture, the statement said.

“According this stature to someone in an event attended by the chief minister and the award winners is inappropriate and undermines the achievement of those who won the awards,” the joint statement said.

That the chief guest himself was part of films in the running for the awards also “belittled” the winners, they said.

The opposition against setting a “bad precedent” at the awards ceremony had started with filmmaker Biju, also a member of the film award jury this year, who said he would boycott the event if Mohanlal was present as chief guest.

Biju pointed out that Mohanlal, as president of Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA), had made statements in support of actor Dileep, who is accused of conspiracy in a case of abduction and sexual assault of a top actress.

After Mohanlal took over as president, AMMA had moved to reinstate Dileep by revoking an earlier decision to expel him.

Biju and some of the members of Women in Cinema Collective – an organisation that fights misogyny in the Malayalam film industry – have signed the joint statement.

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