Protests mount against move to invite Mohanlal as chief guest to film awards

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The campaign against Malayalam superstar Mohanlal over the reinstatement of actor abduction case accused Dieep into Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) headed by him has intensified with over 100 people coming out against a move by the government to invite him as the chief guest to the annual state film awards.

 

A letter signed by 107 people from various walks of life, including writers, artistes and cultural leaders has been submitted to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Culture Minister A.K. Balan on Monday, July 23.

Those who have signed the letter include award winning actor Prakash Raj, eminent writers N.S. Madhavan, Sethu and Sachidanandan, actress Rima Kallingal and Geethu Mohandas. The letter said there was no need for a chief guest when the chief minister is giving the awards to the winners.

Mohanlal has been facing the ire as the decision to take back Dileep, who is facing trial in the case, was taken after he assumed charge as the president of AMMA. The protest began by the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) snowballed with people from different walks of life rallying behind them.

Earlier, National Award-winning director Bijukumar Damodaran, popularly known as Dr Biju, issued a statement condemning the Kerala government’s move to invite Mohanlal as the chief guest and warned that he will not attend the function if the government did not retract from the move.

“The Kerala State Film Award is the highest recognition given by the state to Malayalam cinema artistes and hence this award should be given to them in an atmosphere comfortable to them,” read the statement shared by Biju on his Facebook page.

Biju, who was a member of the award jury, said it was belittling of the award winners to invite an actor, whose films were among the contenders for the awards. The statement suggested that the awards be distributed by the Chief Minister in the presence of the Cultural Minister.

Mohanlal had sought to quell the controversy by saying that the Association decision had lost its relevance since Dileep himself had stated that he would stay away from AMMA until he is proved innocent in the case. The super has also tried to placate the rebels saying that he and the association have been standing with the victim.

 

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