Kerala

Mammooty film caught in controversy, former director booked

The police case against Sajeev Pillai and others was that they created a set of fake FB accounts under fictitious names and used them to malign the movie and its stakeholders, including the actors.

The police case against Sajeev Pillai and others was that they created a set of fake FB accounts under fictitious names and used them to malign the movie and its stakeholders, including the actors.  

Sajeev Pillai, former director and arguably original scriptwriter of the film, faces charge of orchestrating a libellous social media campaign to disparage the movie

A period movie featuring actor Mammooty, which is scheduled to be released next month, has found itself at the centre of a controversy.

 The Kerala police on Wednesday booked the former director and arguably original scriptwriter of the film, Sajeev Pillai, on the charge of orchestrating a libellous social media campaign to disparage the movie.

The Thiruvananthapuram-Rural police have booked Mr. Pillai along with six others on the charge of using a fake account in the name of Ethan Hunt, the fictional protagonist of a successful Hollywood action series, to vilify the film.

Mr. Pillai was booked on the charge of defamation under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code. Police have slapped an additional charge of using a “computer resource for cheating persons” under Section 66 (D) of the Information Technology Act. The Sections entail a maximum punishment of up to three years of imprisonment and fine.

The police said they had registered the case based on a complaint filed by the film’s executive producer Antony Joseph. The Dy.SP, Crime Branch, Thiruvananthapuram-Rural, had conducted a preliminary enquiry. He found that the charge revealed a cognisable offence and recommended the registration of a case for further investigation.

Fake FB accounts

The police case against Mr. Pillai and others was that they created a set of fake FB accounts under fictitious names and used them to malign the movie and its stakeholders, including the actors.

They were also probing the suspected conspiracy angle behind the alleged crime.

Mr. Pillai, who directed the initial stages of the movie, had dropped out from the venture in 2018 following a dispute with producer Venu Kunnapally.

Mr. Kunnapally later claimed that he found Mr. Pillai wanting and had to shelve the portions filmed by him. The movie fell behind schedule. The producer incurred huge losses and was constrained to start the project afresh under a new director.

Mr. Pillai told The Hindu that he had sued Mr. Venu for stealing his movie script. The movie was his dream project and brainchild. He had researched and worked on the script for nearly two decades.

He said he had to part ways with Mr. Venu because the producer interfered with the casting and insisted on last-minute script changes.

Mr. Pillai denied the police charge against him. He said he did not need to use proxies to air his opinion. He hoped to fight the charges against him in court.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 11:47:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/mammooty-film-caught-in-controversy-former-director-booked/article30095544.ece

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