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 fierce battle has Sarathkumar, his wife Radhika and her half brother Radha Ravi pitted against rival alliance of five actors, known as Pandavar Ani, led by actors Nasser and Vishal. Although actor Silambarasan supporting Sarathkumar faction indulged in name calling Vishal, and Sarathkumar’s wife Radhika appealed for an ‘amicable settlement’ without election, the rebel camp maintained that they will go ahead with the election.
Radhika, Sarathkumar’s wife, who met the media alleged that the rival camp is playing ‘politics’ without revealing their actual demand. Targeting Vishal, who is contesting general secretary post against her half brother Radha Ravi, she said Vishal has no idea for what purpose he is contesting. “They are spoiling the unity of this actors body which has been working together like family for so many years. Is it ‘politics’ or a forum to play politics?” she asked. With the The rebel faction garnering support of Super Star Kamal Hassan and a majority of the members of Nadigar Sangam, she demanded Pandavar Ani to rethink on contesting election. “We are your friends. We are not your enemies. Please talk to us,” she pleaded towards the end of press meet.
Meanwhile, actor Silambarasan, who is one among the few prominent faces who support Sarathkumar faction, launched an attack on Vishal accusing him breaking the unity of film fraternity. Resembling the style of his father T Rajendar, who is known for his highly dramatised speeches, Silambarasan mocked at Vishal for contesting against Sarathkumar faction. He animatedly asked what he had done for the Nadigar Sangam. “How dare you come and raise questions suddenly before people who worked hard for this forum,” Simbu asked.
The rebel faction had taken the decision to contest the election after a land deal signed by President Sarathkumar sparked the controversy after he signed an agreement with SPI Cinemas to lease out Nadigar Sangam’s 99 cents land for 29 years and 11 months, to construct a seven-storey building housing a multiplex.
“Where was he when the deal with SPI cinemas was signed? Why didn’t he object then?” asked Simbalarasan, popularly known as Simbu, who is standing for the post of Vice-President.
Both Vishal and Nasser refused to react to Simbu’s remarks. Vishal, however, in his statement said there is no question of withdrawing from the election. “We will contest this election,” he said appreciating efforts of various film bodies who tried to negotiate to call off the election. “I respect their concern. But at the same time we trust our decision too. Conducting an election is not a bad thing,” he said.
Talking to The Indian Express, Nasser said the rival camp has already seen their defeat. “Probably that is the reason for them to demand for ‘talks’ instead of ‘election.’ It’s their belief that an election would spoil the unity. An election is the most democratic process. We believe in politics and elections as they are part of our democracy. That is why we have elections in schools, colleges and in the state. Most of all the film bodies in India have this practice. Nadigar Singam had no elections for over 25 years. Now we realise that a majority demand for a change,” he said.
Nadigar Singam represents both film actors and theatre artists in the state. About 2,500-2,600 members are expected to vote on October 18.