The Kerala film industry has been rocked by the producers’ association banning a young actor over alleged “indiscipline”, and the actors’ body rallying behind their colleague.
Putting actor Shane Nigam (23) in the centre of the storm, Kerala Film Producers Association had on Thursday alleged that young film artistes were indulging in substance abuse at shooting locations and risking production.
Banning him from the industry, the association had said that producers were abandoning two film projects due to non-cooperation of Nigam — son of late actor and mimicry artiste Kalabhavan Abi. The decision stemmed from a recent standoff between Nigam and Joby George, producer of Veyil, in which the former had a key role. While shooting of Veyil was going on, Nigam changed his hairstyle, annoying the industry and the producer.
However, Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA) said that nobody has the right to ban (the actor). “The word ‘ban’ is outdated. We have got a complaint from Nigam stating his stand. AMMA will discuss the issue and try to find a solution amicably,” said AMMA general secretary Edavela Babu.
Meanwhile, a day after the producers’ association alleged that substance abuse was rampant among young artistes, state Cultural Affairs Minister A K Balan said the allegation was serious and the government would probe it. “Those who have raised the allegation should stick to their stand. They should give a complaint. The government is considering introducing a code of conduct in the industry,” he said.
Speaking about Nigam, producers’ association president Rajaputhra Ranjith had said, “Appearance is very important in the film. By trimming his hair, he insulted the producer who invested crores. Besides, Nigam demanded more money from the producer of Ullasam to finish dubbing… No other artiste behaved in such a manner.”
He said the producers had decided to abandon two film projects — Veyil and Qurubani — as they had suffered loss of Rs 6 crore due to Nigam. He would not be allowed to act in films until he compensates for the loss, Renjith said, adding that many young actors behave irresponsibly at shooting locations.
Nigam had told media that there was denial of natural justice as he was not heard by the association. “I will continue to act in movies. Producers had told me that the issue would be sorted out amicably and there would not be any ban,” he said.
Babu, however, said there was no justification for changing hairstyle. “Nigam should not have behaved in a manner that would affect film production. There is a limit for registering protest. The association agrees with the producers’ allegation on drug abuse at film locations,” he said.
Film actor and AMMA member Baburaj also said drug abuse is widespread among young film professionals. “If there is a raid, many people would be in trouble,” he said.
Director-cum-cinematographer Rajeev Ravi stood with Nigam. He said he did not justify indiscipline on the part of the actor, but banning him on account of alleged indiscipline was wrong.
Nigam had the lead role in Shaji N Karun’s 2018-made Oolu. He also had roles in Kammatipaadam and Kumbalangi Nights.
In 2015, Shine Tom Chacko, a young actor, was arrested on charges of possessing cocaine.