If you thought press meets are platforms for the press to interact with a film’s crew and get to ask them questions, talk about cinema, the craft and the art, spare a thought for those of us who suffer them each week. Forget about artistes respecting our time and giving us an interview, it has reached a point especially in Kollywood where they’re nothing more than a source of entertainment for the press. The media and the poor invitees who make up the audience get to witness two films at once — the film they are all there to talk about and the one the crew and special guests put on in front of the press. Even if the actual film fails, you’re guaranteed some fun beforehand.
On Saturday, 22 February, lead actor Trisha Krishnan ended up bailing out of the press meet of her 60th film, Paramapadham Vilayattu. Although reasons for her absence have been kept under wraps, several friends of the director Thirugnanam who also happen to be a part of the Producers and Directors Councils lashed out against the actor.
Producer Suresh Kamatchi said that lead actors tend to believe that they’re in the top only if they refuse to attend press meets. He said that top male stars like Vijay and Rajinikanth make the efforts to promote their film. Similarly it’s a responsibility to be borne by a leading actress too when she is the only major selling point in a film. “She reached the pinnacle of success only because of the love showered by press and audiences. I don’t see the reason for not attending a press meet of your own film especially when it’s flooded with new talents who seek recognition. There’s a reason we look out for known popular artistes instead of fresh faces and fund for their projects. I wish Thiru directs his next film with someone who is willing to attend the promotional activities,” said Suresh.
Producer T Siva of Amma Creations, a good friend of Thirugnanam’s, added that a film with two lead characters would sell and can be promoted despite the absence of one lead. But when a film is headlined by only one artiste, it is essential they are present for promotions. “They need to keep in mind the lives of other budding artistes and not take it lightly. If Trisha refuses to attend the forthcoming promotional events, I as a representative of the Producers Council assure that a share of her salary would be withdrawn. Let this be a warning for the rest of the actors too,” he said.
Producer K Rajan, who is apparently known for making controversial statements (thanks to Bhagyaraj for this heads up), made so many statements against the crew it turned out to be the highlight of the event. After lashing out, he conveniently sugarcoated his statements either referring to his targets as his kin or saying “it’s a request from my side”.
He taunted Vijay Varma, playing major character in the film, saying he’d tear him into pieces if he demands a salary in crores and fails to identify this director when he turns out to be successful. Amrish was called out for delaying the re-recording process and making Rajan run around for the output. The lyricist along with the director also received a earful for realising that a wrong word was included in a song only during post production. He asked the crew to follow the footsteps of Bhagyaraj whose work doesn’t indulge in vulgarity and only serves as entertainment even for the women(!)
In the end, he expressed his displeasure at how Yogi Babu refused to complete the dubbing for a film commenced three years ago, before he turned ‘busy’. “He keeps making promises, but doesn’t seem to keep up his word. I request him to complete the required portion which would hardly take a day as soon as he returns from the shooting of his next film. He can then continue with his huge budget films. We don’t have any issues,” said Rajan.
Next it was veteran director-producer K Bhagyaraj’s turn to express his contempt. He sneered at the crew for inviting him just yesterday and added that he made it to the press meet only out of sheer respect for the film’s music director Amrish’s mother actress Jayachitra…
Another day. Another “press meet”.