Film industry divided over producers’ allegation about drugs


After ignoring the elephant in the room for years in the face of overt and covert accusations, when producers finally called out the scourge of drugs in the film industry, it came hardly as a surprise.

For, the cocktail of drugs and movies, to invoke a cliche, was one of the worst kept secrets, which raised its ugly head four years ago when actor Shine Tom Chacko was hauled up by the City police from a flat at Kadavanthra allegedly with cocaine. He ended up languishing behind bars for two months.

Just a month before Chacko’s arrest, actor-director Sreenivasan had courted controversy when he bluntly accused new-generation directors of making movies under the influence of cannabis in an oblique response to a director’s uncharitable comments about him. “We don’t have to put up with this any longer. The police had already alerted us to the use of drugs, and the producers’ association will extend them all support in their endeavour to check the menace,” said senior producer Suresh Kumar. He, however, declined to reveal whether the police had named actors.

Noted filmmaker D. Bijukumar, however, was not willing to take the producers’ association’s allegation without a pinch of salt. “Rather than keep everyone under the cloud, the association should cite evidence-backed specific instances with names. Since the association’s fetish about handing out bans is well known, it is its responsibility to convince that this was not another convenient ruse to ban someone,” he said. The Association of Malayalam Movie Actors (AMMA) was rather evasive about the whole affair. “As far as I understand, producers were not alluding to our members,” said its general secretary Edavela Babu without elaborating further.

Actor-director Salim Kumar said his knowledge about drug menace in movies was restricted to hearsay. He added that he had neither come across anyone using drugs nor any of his movies ever getting disrupted owing to the matter.

A budding writer, who preferred anonymity, said producers had no one else to blame but themselves since it was they who pushed up the remuneration of actors to astronomical heights merely based on the satellite rights they commanded, besides conceding their outlandish demands like caravans.

“The allegation of drugs is just a convenient smokescreen to disguise the real curse of the industry, which is the obnoxious mix of religion and politics,” he said.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 5:06:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/film-industry-divided-over-producers-allegation-about-drugs/article30119914.ece

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