Lal Salaam

Ok, so this could be a rant.

Do you know what’s been hogging the Malayalam news headlines the last few weeks? I’ll give you some clues – not inflation, not the oil-price hike, not the strikes/hartals by the omnipresent Commies, not global warmning, not the Aarushi murder case, not any murder case, not Santhosh Madhavan and finally, not even Euro 2008 or the just complete Tri-series in Bangladesh.

What else can it be? It’s the story of how a proverbial mole-hill was made a mountain by the I-have-nothing-better-to-do brigade of, get this, people from the Mallu film industry!

So here’s the whole deal – once upon a time in Kerala (approx 4 years back), there lived a producer Tulasidas. He used to make movies. Along the same time, there lived a very popular actor, Dileep. He had a lot of hits and was one of the hottest stars in the industry. So our man Tulasidas gets dates (the calendar ones, for purely platonic purposes, mind you) from Dileep for an upcoming movie and pays him 40 lakhs for the agreement. All was good and done. Then one fine day, Dileep decides he doesn’t want to act in that movie anymore (director had a lot of flops, the script was not ready, yada yada yada) and tells Tulasidas that he can’t keep his dates and he’s willing to give the money back. All of it.

And what happens then? Tulasidas decides he’ll have nothing of it and goes to town saying Dileep must (MUST MUST MUST) act in his movie, he can’t just give the money back and go. Dileep doesn’t care, basically asks him to take a hike around the world.

Now till this point it’s just an issue between one director and one actor. But then, one forgets that it’s Kerala. Nothing is between just two people. It’s somehow twisted and turned to be between the down-trodden working class (even if they happen to make crores in the film industry) and the arrogant one-man capitalist. Always. So what does Tulasidas do? He goes crying to MACTA (Malayalam Cine Technicians Association) and the general secretary of MACTA, director Vinayan decides enough is enough and convenes a meeting with all the executive members (which includes the whos-who of Mallu filmdom) and announces that all Mallu movies will be put on hold if Dileep doesn’t act in Tulasidas’ movie. Hah!

But then, one of the directors in that meeting, Siddique, got up and said that film-making was his bread and butter and he cannot stop doing that just because two people in the industry were having some issue. And what does Vinayan do? He goes up to the mike and says something to the effect that ‘people’ will tarnish their wives also for money these days (put very very mildly). Siddique sees red ‘coz the comment came exactly after he gave his opinion and he says ‘people’ actually refers to him.

This is enough fuel for the entire industry to burst into flames and split into two. Big guns like Siddique, Sibi Malayil, Fazil, Sreenivasan, Priyadarshan and Sathyan Anthikad resign from MACTA. The Mallu actors association (called AMMA) takes Dileep’s side. MACTA is on Tulasidas’ side. There’s the third front formed by the breakaway faction of MACTA who just want to get on with their movie making. Now add to this other ‘associations’ like FEFSI (South Indian film federation) and ABCD and XYZ, you have a full blown crisis on your hands. And the media, ofcourse, has a field day (actually weeks) running live updates on every single meeting between these ‘associations’.

Why am I all frustrated about this? First, I have to watch the darn news and I have absolutely no interest in such issues of ‘world importance’. Second, I’m sick and tired of the Commie way of doing things where common sense is chucked out the door and the common man is made to undergo difficulties because some bloke up there on a red throne said so. WTH! Thanks to these trade unions, if I had to move house in Kerala, I can’t do it myself! I have to call the trade union guys to do it for me and then pay through my nose.  Did you guys know that? Say I have 3 huge couches to move and  I have 5 of my friends/cousins who can help me move it, I still can’t! The union people just won’t let me. I have to call their guys, use their lorries and do the moving. And what’s worse?  They will unload the material only till the gate. Not till inside the house! Again, WTH! There are no movers and packers to neatly pack your stuff in the old house, move it to the new house and unpack and arrange the things in the new house. There are no movers and packers. Period.

Maybe I don’t have the whole picture. Maybe I don’t know the other side of the story. But from whatever I know, this just seems the most unfair way to do things. And that frustrates me!! 

Is it like this in all Commie ruled states? How about West Bengal? Any better there? Does Communism in it’s original format even hold good in today’s times? In India, at least? We all know China is the other extreme, but what the heck is happening here?


9 thoughts on “Lal Salaam

  1. thnx for the whole picture of the latest ‘crisis’ to hit kerala. I caught some headlines but ws in the dark abt why/what is happening… i can imagine how manorama and otehr dailes enjoying this and churning out the news stories…

    abt the trade unions.. less said the better.. i had been into major fights with them and hv loded and unloded stuff by myself… as long as the stuff u hv to unload is in ur premises, u adn your family members can do it… we had the guys from the union watching over us, to make sure our domestic helpers dont help us to unload bricks… the way the trade unions work is not just unfair, but extremely unfair…


  2. We experienced the same in Coimbatore when we moved there too. Scary since it was the middle of the night and some Union guy started harrassing and we did nt have a clue about it. Thankfully, an influential friend came to help. “Influence” is the key word to survive, I tell ya! Scary!
    And thanks for the heads up on the MFI! 😉


  3. This just gave me a brilliant idea, I’m gonna approach mamooty/mohanlal and atempt to sign them up for a film. They will obviously refuse, and then I can take the issue to one of these unions, accuse the actors of discriminating against a smalltime director like me, and I could even throw the out-of-state angle to it and presto!

    NDTV, IBN and everybody else will cover it, bloggers will write supporting my clause, the mallu industry will come to a standstill, crores will be lost, the state govt will have to intervene, overnight stardom and the actors will tend a written apology amidst a perss conference!

    Then I can approach aamir khan and make a film called ‘chillo chamar’…



  4. I guess this would give inspiration to Sreenivasan to write another script ! 😛

    Anyways, this is not a miniscule issue. Infact I would encourage the whole world to be so passionate about the movies and movie stars. And the movie stars should form unions. There should be election and people should vote. I bet there would be a much better voter turn out than the assembly elections 🙂

    Swathandriyam Janadipathyam Socialism Zindabad 😀


  5. Anoop – That’s exactly what I’m talkin about! I got a shock when I first heard that you can’t move stuff of your own house! crazy

    Boo – 🙂 Luckily for me, we didn’t have any of those experiences. BTW, at the risk of sound a perfect dunce, what’s MFI? ~sheepish grin~

    Nikhil – Now why do I think you’re being sarcastic?


  6. Max – good idea! 🙂

    Vijay Ganesh – Unfair, isn’t it? These Commies, I tell ya…

    Me – some people..thiruthave mudiyaadhu!

    Vinod – Please to meet with Max above and discuss further plans, thank you.


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