The intensity of the Nadigar Sangam elections seems to increase every day. Along with the mud-slinging. The politics, drama, and vendetta that has been associated with these elections would put any general election to shame.
It was 12 noon on Wednesday, October 7. It began with a press meeting jointly held by members of the Producers Council, Directors Association, and FEFSI. There was an announcement: three unions would convene a meeting with representatives of both teams. And try to arrive at a consensus on the elections. Producers Council President Kalaipuli S Thanu said the elections were creating a rift between actors, who were choosing camps. That this rift could cause problems in making films in the future. The meeting was scheduled for October 10.
At 4 pm, a press meeting was convened by members of Sarathkumar’s team – Radhika Sarathkumar, Silambarasan and Mohan Raman. Along with K Bhagyaraj, Poornima Bhagyaraj and Urvasi, who hadn’t made their stand on the issue clear.
Mohan Raman said he had decided to support Sarathkumar’s team only after he had the necessary evidence. That Sarathkumar was being reasonable. That he hadn’t committed any mismanagement with the funds of the Sangam. He said that an issue that should have been solved within the four walls of the organisation has been blown out of proportion. So much so that today the Tamil film industry has been stricken with an ill reputation. He added that Sarathkumar’s team was ready for compromise. Ready to bring an amicable solution to the issue.
But an amicable solution seemed out of reach as the next speaker, Radhika Sarathkumar, went on to question Vishal’s intentions, as well as his ability to fulfil their election promises. Radhika Sarathkumar said the current situation had brought her to a point where she felt ashamed of being an actor. Highlights:
- “The problems between Vishal and Sarathkumar started with the CCL (Celebrity Cricket League). During a CCL-related event in Dubai, Vishal behaved badly with Sarathkumar. After that, Sarath withdrew from the matches. Since then, this rift has been increasing.”
- “Vishal says he wants a new building built. I had asked him several times to file a proposal for that, but he never did.”
- “I spoke to Kamal Haasan in detail about these issues a month ago. All he told me was – ‘I do not have a great opinion about Vishal, but I also do not want involve myself in this dirt‘. Even after Sarathkumar helped Kamal to a great extent with the release of Uttama Villain, Kamal did not step forward to try and solve the issues in the Sangam.”
- “I am confident that there is someone who is provoking both Vishal and Karthi.”
- “In their election manifesto, they have said that all actors will act in a movie and the profits will be used for the welfare of the Sangam. Vishal’s last film (Paayum Puli) had made just Rs.5 crores in the whole of Tamil Nadu. Karthi is just regaining his market. How will they get profits for their film?”
She then requested the Pandavar Ani to rethink their stand. Requested them to discuss the issue. For the overall welfare of the actors, who, she said, were in a sorry state, witnessing the rift between the two camps.
Then came Silambarasan. And the fireworks really began:
- “I do not want the post of vice-president. I appeal for unity and peace. Not because we are weak, but because I want my family to be united.”
- “There is nothing wrong with the agreement with SPI Cinemas. If he (Vishal) does not want a multiplex in that land, what else does he want? A bar or a club? How can an actor be against the building of a movie theatre, on which his own career thrives? If you (Vishal) are against the building of a theatre, do you think the theatres will screen your films in the future?”
- “He (Vishal) is trying to create a rift between the family of actors, and I cannot allow that. He is fulfilling some personal agenda of his through these elections. He doesn’t have anybody’s welfare in mind.”
- “I called Vishal a few weeks ago, asking him to discuss the issues with all the senior members. His reply was a mocking laugh. So what are his real intentions?”
- “Just because he is the captain of the CCL team, does he (Vishal) thinks that he is like ‘Captain’ Vijayakanth?”
- “Vishal keeps saying that Radha Ravi called him a dog. Radha Ravi was wrong, Vishal is a (cunning) fox.”
- “Every supporter of the Pandavar Ani thinks they are supporting a good cause, which is fine. But Vishal is only intent on dividing the actors.”
- “Why should Sarathkumar or Radha Ravi be answerable to your (Vishal’s) questions? You (Vishal) have no standing to ask them any questions.”
- “They have named their team Pandavar Ani. That itself makes it clear that they want only war and not peace.”
- “All the other industries are laughing at our family. If there’s a problem in the family, it should be solved within the family. But you have telecast it to everyone in the open. Our reputation has been ruined.”
The impact of this speech on bringing back the reputation Simbu claims is lost, will have to be seen. Much to the ire of the journalists present at the press meet, 30-40 STR fans were also present at the venue. Cheering as the actor belted out the above statements. The situation escalated when they mocked a journalist’s question. In response, a group of the journalists threatened to leave the venue.
Radhika Sarathkumar declared that the hotel was a public space and they couldn’t control who was present. Which begs the question: why call it a ‘press-meet’ then?
This event was being relayed live on a news channel, and news about Simbu’s speech spread quickly. Vishal’s brother and producer/actor Vikram Krishna tweeted in response:
#NadigarSangamElections An actor who can’t even attend his own shooting on time and delay’s all his movies for years is talking nonsense
— vikram krishna (@vikramkrishna5) October 7, 2015
Vishal then spoke to a news channel over the telephone and said he wouldn’t be reacting to Simbu’s comments. He said that he and his team wouldn’t compromise over the elections. He added that if the opposition wanted to withdraw from the elections, it was up to them. But the Pandavar Ani were focused on having a democratic election. Later, a press note was released by the Pandavar Ani in response to the Producers Council’s meeting request.
- The Pandavar Ani thanks and appreciates the effort, but will not be participating in this meeting.
- In over 27 film-related unions, elections take place every three years. Only in the Nadigar Sangam has there been no democratic election in the last 10 years. (Sarathkumar and his office bearers were elected unanimously).
- The nominations have been filed and the election procedures have begun. The Pandavar Ani aren’t interested in a compromise and want to go ahead with the elections.
- Unity between actors will be maintained as always even after the elections.
The Pandavar Ani began their election campaign yesterday at Salem. As the issue escalates with each day, we await the weekend, when two important meetings are scheduled. One by the Producers Council, and the other, an election meeting by Sarathkumar’s team. Here are a few pictures from the press meet conducted by Sarathkumar’s team. Courtesy: PR Wire