Chinmayi Sripada released a video statement on Friday, clarifying how membership fees and other payments work inside the South Indian Cine and Television Artistes and Dubbing Artistes Union.
The popular singer, who has been at the forefront of the #MeToo movement in South India after calling out National Award-winning lyricist Vairamuthu for sexual harassment, announced last week that her membership from the dubbing union has been terminated without any intimation.
Although the union provided a clerical reason saying her membership has been revoked because Chinmayi didn’t pay her dues since 2016, it is widely believed that this sudden move is a result of the singer raising her voice in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
Chinmayi spoke out against veteran actor Radha Ravi as well, who happens to be the head of the Dubbing Artistes Union.
The singer is an acclaimed dubbing artiste, having dubbed for over 75 films. She has given the voice for popular actors Trisha and Samantha Akkineni in many movies. She recently dubbed for Trisha in 96 and received rave reviews.
In the video, the singer recounts how the entire salary (Rs 15,000) from the first movie she dubbed, Sillinu OruKadhal, was directly transferred by the union as membership fees. According to the bylaws, the membership fee is said to be Rs 200, and it is also compulsory for every dubbing artist to become a member. Failing which, the union will prevent the movie of the artiste from releasing.
Here is the video. The statement that I didn’t pay the dubbing union subscription fee is false. 👇🏼https://t.co/1TVsdgeasM
— Chinmayi Sripaada (@Chinmayi) November 23, 2018
She also added that it is common practice for the union to cut ten percent of their income from the movie they are dubbing and then give the remaining amount as a cheque to all the dubbing artistes. The lack of receipt or invoice caused a lot of auditing problems for the singer.
She also goes on to mention how she was issued a show-cause notice in the late 2000s threatening to terminate her membership, based on some reports that she had spoken against the union in an interview.
Chinmayi carried the copy of the said interview to clarify and submitted a written letter stating that she had not spoken ill of anybody. She was then dismissed after being told that she had nothing to worry. “So, if they had to terminate my membership, it is mentioned in their rules that they have to send a show-cause notice first”, she adds, pointing the difference in the sudden and immediate move by the union this time.
She goes on to explain in great detail how payments inside the union works and even tweeted, “In case you didn’t watch the video – 95 members of the Dubbing Union haven’t paid subscription fees since 2016. I have been singled out and terminated. I have also paid the Lifetime Membership Fee as of 11 Feb 2016 via Bank Transfer.”
“The explanation provided by the union for the termination of the singer’s membership is false. There must have been a lot of pressure because I shared a lot of sexual harassment accounts against Mr Radha Ravi,” she concludes in the video.
In the Tamil film industry, other unions and councils cannot interfere in the functions and workings of a separate entity but Chinmayi points out in the video that the dubbing union can now send out notice against the singer asking others not to work with her.
She says the question that everyone needs to ask the dubbing union is, “Why was she allowed to work those two years if she hadn’t paid the membership fees?” Using this as the reason for her sudden termination from the body now seems flimsy, Chinmayi states in her clip.
“This is a way of punishing me for coming out and supporting the victims”, the singer says dejectedly.
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