Nadigar Sangam elections: Politics, drama and romance

Otherwise a peaceful organisation that always stayed on the right side of the ruling party, it has been dragged into a war between senior actors after the leadership of the incumbent president, actor Sarathkumar decided to demolish the old Nadigar Sangam office in Chennai.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai | Updated: October 18, 2015 4:29 pm


sarath kumar, sarathkumar, Nadigar Sangam, President Sarathkumar, Radhika, Radha Ravi, Pandavar Ani, Nasser, Vishal, Silambarasan, Nadigar Sangam, entertainment news War between the two factions of Nadigar Sangam, Tamil film body represents actors and theatre artists, getting worse with a faction led by the incumbent President Sarathkumar launched personal attacks on the rebel camp targeting actors Vishal ahead of election set on October 18.

The sets are ready in a typically ‘filmi’ style for the Nadigar Sangam election in Tamil Nadu. Election to the film artistes’ body– which also represents a sizeable number of theatre artistes — is significant as the body is one of the most influential entities in Tamil Nadu, once a springboard for many aspiring politicians who later became chief ministers or top leaders of the state.

Otherwise a peaceful organisation that always stayed on the right side of the ruling party, it has been dragged into a war between senior actors after the leadership of the incumbent president, actor Sarathkumar decided to demolish the old Nadigar Sangam office in Chennai.

Sarathkumar then signed a deal with SPI Cinemas to lease out most of the prime property in the city, for 29 years and 11 months, to construct a seven-storey building housing a multiplex with one floor allotted for Nadigar Sangam besides a monthly rental of Rs. 26 lakhs. The matter was dragged to the court and some actors alleged vested interests and corruption behind it. This led to the formation of a rebel group within the artistes’ body which has had no elections for more than two decades. Sarathkumar filed a defamation suit of Rs 10 crore against Vishal for raising allegations of financial impropriety against him. Now the Madras High Court is monitoring the election on October 18, Sunday and about 2,500-2,600 members are expected to cast their votes.

Two camps

Prominent faces of Team Sarathkumar comprises him (he’s also a politician), for president for a fourth term, his brother-in-law, actor Radha Ravi as general secretary and Silambarasan, a Tamil hero for the post of vice president.

Team Rebels, known as Pandavar Ani, comprises five leaders – Nasser, a fine Tamil actor for president, Vishal, 38-year old Tamil hero as general secretary, Ponvannan, Karunas and Karthi, a Tamil hero and the brother of leading actor Surya.

Who supports whom?

Team Sarathkumar looks like it’s losing its grip on the elections, with a seemingly weak team lead by Radha Ravi and Radkhika his half sister and Sarathkumar’s wife.

Many mainstream actors have now come out in support of the rebel camp including super star Kamal Hassan. Several other mainstream actors with nonconformist-left-liberal political backgrounds also declared their support for the rebel camp: Khushboo, an actor-turned-politician, and Rohini for example. Prakash Raj, a actor close to the Kamal Hassan camp and known for his political stand and statements against the beef ban is another rebel camp supporter.

Verbal spats galore

Sarathkumar’s wife Radhika, the spokesperson of her husband’s team, had called her husband’s arch rival Vishal by his caste name, Vishal Reddy. Many in the industry say this move allegedly to prove that Vishal is not a Tamilian in fact diminished her image with senior actors questioning her remarks when she herself has non-Tamil roots. Radhika’s final strategy was to invite rivals for negotiations, to avoid election, claiming that “an election would split the film fraternity”.

The rebel camp refused to accept the offer of negotiation maintaining that
election is a democratic process.

How DMK and AIADMK play a role in Nadigar Sangam?

Although Nadigar Sangam was always in favour of the ruling party, whoever it may be, yesteryear actor and Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa directed actors attached to her party to not contest the election, sending a strong message of keeping a safe distance from both camps. This is likely to benefit the rebel camp as Sarathkumar, who is in the alliance of AIADMK, hoped that Jayalalithaa would favour his team.

The rebel camp also benefits from DMK sympathisers in the artistes’ body. The friendship of Vishal and M K Stalin’s son and producer-turned-actor, Udayanidhi Stalin is known to everyone in the industry.

A love story in the backdrop

In the midst of this tight fight, many in the industry are curious about the relationship of Vishal from the rebel team and Varalakshmi, Sarathkumar’s daughter from his ex-wife, Chaya. Good old friends, who are known to have a relationship for several years, however, seem to have decided not to be seen together in public until the election. Varalakshmi told The Indian Express that she would cast her vote for her father. Vishalhas clarified that his personal life had nothing to do with the election.

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  1. J
    Julius Bobby
    Oct 17, 2015 at 8:57 am
    There are many violations committed by Sarath and Team as he being ry drawing person as MLA cannot hold post of any office in the SIAA or Nadigar Sangam; Next till date Sarath team could not muster a single actor worth his name in today's film world to his side which shows that he has no following; He himself has not been in the films for the last 5 years and all self produced films of his have bombed and he has considerable debt on hand; Next the residents of Habibullah Road are far more powerful and influential that they have obtained a Stay as the road houses 2-3 big schools, Kalyana Mantaps and a big residential colony and hence having a Mall will create pollution, traffic and other related hazards which the court has agreed upon and directed CMDA not to give any permit for construction; Now they are caught on the wrong foot as some money transaction has definitely happened hence this judgement could not be taken to Supreme Court for the last 2 years for which Sarath and Team has not given a straight reply till date; The fact these issues have been openly deliberated by NER, VISHAL, KARUNAS, KARTHI AND PONVANNAN has caught the eye of all senior artistes, leading lights, big wigs now they have understood the gravity of the situation which is the real reason for this DEMOCRATIC CHALLENGE against a Corrupt Administration; Next in the last 2-3 decades Drama Artistes of southern districts have been treated very shabbily, there is no welfare scheme in real terms all election promises are meant to be forgotten they are used for voting purposes only which has been exposed; The ugly and incorrigble persons must be thrown out lock, stock and barrel; Even the Media Channels have not questioned about how 2 persons out of 7 Trust Members could negotiate, sign and authorise for the Nadigar Sangam demolition, and sign agreement with SPI Cinemas which is shrouded in secrecy; Next the silence of Prabu, Kamal, Rajini, Ajith, Vijay, Surya, Vikram IS that they are siding with Vishal as they have all understood in the name of developing property some people are trying corner wealth and once the SPI Cinemas take over the property it is for them for ever ; The land, building, property should belong to the Nadigar Sangam only and no one should be given an inch; Now Sarath instead of invoking MGR, SIVAJI, NTR etc talk of democracy, ethics, morality ; He must resign and face the charges and let him refund any money if he has taken from SPI CINEMAS
    1. K
      Kalyanam Iyer
      Oct 16, 2015 at 9:19 pm
      This is a report by the CPI(M) member Arun J with the intention to promote the Team Vishal > The reporter's anger against chief minister Jayalalithaa is visible in the report.
      1. P
        Oct 17, 2015 at 10:12 am
        How did SBI waive more than 3 crores on sarths word? some thing fishy .. must be enquired..when poor farmers are being tortured for petty loans , how come sbi waive nadigar sangams loan? idf no action taken .A law suit will be filed........
        1. M
          mary truth
          Oct 17, 2015 at 11:35 am
          I appreciate the move of Mr. Sarath Kumar is a good for the nadigar sangam because 25 lakhs into 12 months will be 3 crores is a good money flow instead of keeping the building which will demolish by itself ,and very few people like dancer Kala sister Jayanthi who run's a dance school Mr.Sarath took the initiative hat's off to Mr.Sarath all the best ..... what Ner know about Nadigar sangam he is an Malayalee by birth his father is gold polisher in chenglepet who used swindle all people's gold by the way of polishing gold that is the fact and Vishal is nothing but an pimp for and Karuna's doesn't know anything about nadigar sangam previously he was an owning an light music troupe called negro boys and sivakumar is an super asoka blade if he open his mouth he never know's to stop, blade runner all these comedians joined together Pon vandu another soap dont vote for
          1. S
            Sriram Narayanaswamy
            Oct 16, 2015 at 6:04 pm
            Not had elections for 20 years?! That's a ripe condition for incest, out with the old order I say!
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