National award-winning Malayalam director refuses to share stage with actor, terming him ‘third-rate’

Anil Radhakrishnan Menon and Bineesh Bastin

Anil Radhakrishnan Menon and Bineesh Bastin  

On the occasion of 63rd Kerala Day, filmmaker Anil Radhakrishnan Menon humiliating actor Bineesh Bastin has led to a barrage of criticism

National Award-winning filmmaker Anil Radhakrishnan Menon is facing flak for refusing to share a stage with budding actor Bineesh Bastin at a function held at Government Medical College here on Thursday.

Mr. Bastin had been invited as the chief guest to the function in which Mr. Menon was to release a magazine brought out by the college students union. The Malayalam director, who had won the National Award for his film North 24 Katham, refused to share the stage with “a third-rate actor.”

Humiliated by Mr. Menon’s refusal to share the stage with him, Mr. Bastin walked up to the stage, sat on the ground, and read out his protest saying, “I’m not an upper-caste person, and I have not won a National Award. I’m a mason who has done several insignificant roles in films…. Caste or religion is not the issue. I too am a man.”

Medical College Principal T.B. Culas had tried to stop Mr. Bastin when he reached the venue. Dr. Culas had even threatened to call the police if he proceeded to the stage. Mr. Bastin’s protest has now become widespread, inviting a barrage of criticism not only against Mr. Menon, but the college authorities and the student union officials as well. The incident turned viral on the social media, dampening the spirit of the 63rd Kerala Day celebrations.

Mr. Menon has since apologized to Mr. Bastin, and also denied having described Mr. Bastin as a third-rate actor. “There’s no discrimination among actors. All are doing the same job irrespective of their stature. I’m sorry. Bineesh, I’m really sorry,” he told a television channel.

Minister for Welfare of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes A.K. Balan said that the government would take action if Mr. Bastin was found to have been humiliated. He said he would seek an explanation from the principal.

The Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA) has sought an explanation from Mr. Menon. FEFKA general secretary B. Unnikrishnan described the incident as shameful.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 2:55:36 AM |

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