Filmmakers Mani Ratnam and Jayendra Pachapakesan have started distributing prepaid cards to workers of the Tamil film industry in their effort to financially support over 10,000 people who lost their income during the Covid-19 pandemic and the consequent lockdown.
The filmmaker duo had collaborated for Navarasa, an upcoming Netflix nine-film Tamil anthology project.
The filmmaker duo, in a press release in January, had said that director RK Selvamani, who is also the president of the Film Employees Federation of South India (FEFSI), was helping them identify over 10,000 beneficiaries who would receive the relief. Bhoomika Trust, a Chennai-based NGO that works in the area of disaster response and rehabilitation, was also roped in to help in this initiative.
When Silverscreen India contacted Aruna Subramaniam, management professional of Bhoomika Trust, she said that the prepaid cards, worth Rs 1,500, can be utilised at grocery outlets.
“ICICI Bank cards are being given to members of the film industry, who have been identified as the most deserving of this by FEFSI. We have received a list of names and by April 15 it is expected that these people will be able to use the cards for grocery,” Subramaniam said.
These cards will be refilled with Rs 1,500 every month for five months, she said.
“The distribution has already started but since it is 11,000 people, it might take us another 10 days to complete the procedure. By the month-end, hopefully, all the cards will be active,” she added.
Navarasa is produced under the banner of Justickets, in association with AP International and Wide Angle Creations as executive producers.
The film features a lineup of over 40 actors, such as Revathy, Aishwarya Rajesh, Nithya Menen, Poorna, Parvathy Thiruvothu, Suriya, Vijay Sethupathi, Prakash Raj, Saravanan, Gautham Karthik, Ashok Selvan, Robo Shankar, Siddharth. The film will bring together nine directors- Arvind Swami, Bejoy Nambiar, Gautham Vasudev Menon, Karthik Subbaraj, Karthick Naren, KV Anand, Ponram, and Rathindran Prasad.