In a tragic incident, director Sasi Kumar’s cousin and co-producer Ashok Kumar ended his life on Tuesday. In a note, Ashok Kumar blamed Madurai-based moneylender Anbuchezhiyan for the decision. He further stated that he was humiliated by the latter and was threatened. The issue has brought the spotlight on opaque funding system in Kollywood. Celebrities have also offered their condolences.
Speaking about the issue, actor Vishal in a press statement asked producers to reach out to them in case of any issue. “It’s time, we put an end to such financiers who harass producers & conduct kattapanjayathu. We wish all producers stay united and work towards the welfare of each one of us. I request the police to take stringent action and bring justice to the innocent’s death & also consider this as a murder & not suicide,” he said in a statement.
Director Gautham Vasudev Menon who also reportedly faced issues with the same financier, took to Twitter to condemn the incident. “While the incident might help in curbing money-minded monsters, we would have preferred to have you with us in the fight,” tweeted Gautham.
— Vishal Film Factory (@VffVishal) November 21, 2017
அசோக் உன்னுடைய மரணம் ஈவிரக்கம் அற்ற ஒரு பணப்பிசாசை அடக்கப் பயன்படக்கூடும் என்பதை அறிவேன்… ஆனால்… நீ உயிரோடிருந்து இந்தப் போராட்டத்தை நடத்தியிருக்க வேண்டும் என்பதையே நாங்கள் விரும்பியிருப்போம்…@SasikumarDir
— Gauthamvasudevmenon (@menongautham) November 21, 2017
This is sad….. my deepest condolences #RIPAshok
— Yuvanshankar raja (@thisisysr) November 22, 2017
Very painful to hear of a young man’s death because of financial pressure. Tamil Cinema is full of such debt, but all the world sees are the lies of success and fame. The entire system needs overhaul. Farmer or film maker, suicide is a curse. Condolences to Sasikumar and family.
— Siddharth (@Actor_Siddharth) November 22, 2017
Heart breaking RIP #ASHOKKUMAR …
— aishwarya rajessh (@aishu_dil) November 21, 2017
— Suseenthiran (@dir_susee) November 22, 2017
Meanwhile director Suseendran has also claimed that actor Ajith was harassed by the same money lender during the production of Naan Kadavul. He also mentioned director Linguswamy to have been affected in a similar fashion. In 2003, Producer GV aka G Venkateswaran who is the elder brother of director Mani Ratnam and producer of Nayagan and Thalapathy committed suicide, allegedly due to financial troubles as well.
Several other celebrities including Actor-producer Siddharth, Aishwarya Rajesh, Yuvan Shankar Raja and Shantanu among others have expressed their condolences.