Last week, Malayalam and Tamil actor Bhavana ruffled feathers by candidly admitting that there had been an unofficial ban on her in Malayalam cinema at the behest of an actor.
In an interview given to Deccan Chronicle, Bhavana had alleged that an actor, angry at the support she extended to his estranged wife, was responsible for the ‘ban’ on her.
While Bhavana had not taken any names, all and sundry have hinted that the couple in question were Dileep and Manju Warrier.
And after every media house (print, online and TV) reported Bhavana’s statement, the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) was forced to respond to the actor’s allegations and said they will consider the issue if she was ready to give a written complaint.
It is however starkly disappointing that an industry with male stars who have lined up to give opinions on every topic on the planet from ranging from Sangh politics, to KM Mani scandal, stray dogs and even Chennai floods have been silent on this elephant in the room.
Is the silence a result of fear, respect or out of a sentiment that ‘I will not intrude into your space as long as you keep away from mine,’?
This is not the first time that someone in the industry has spoken about ‘powerful’ forces interfering with careers. A few months ago, Manju Warrier had taken to Facebook to write that her friends should be left alone.
“Dileep and I have jointly approached the family court. The reason for our divorce is highly personal and I kindly request everyone to respect our privacy regarding the matter. At the same time, there are many rumours about my friends Geethu, Samyuktha, Bhavana, Poornima and Shwetha Menon, who are pointed out as a reason for our separation. It hurts them as well as me to hear such rumours, as it has now started affecting their personal and professional space. These decisions are completely mine and I alone will be responsible for all the repercussions."
Like the film industries in other languages, Kerala’s film industry too is dotted with examples of stars in vogue exercising undue influence on producers or directors. Their power to influence decisions amplifies manifold if they also run production houses.
The buzz in the Malayalam industry is that a star couple was also at the receiving end of a tantrum by a star and it was only recently that the husband managed to make a powerful comeback.
Industry insiders say that the comeback journey has not been easy for Manju Warrier either and some have raised doubts on an article in a leading daily few weeks ago questioning her stardom.
But in Bhavana’s case, it’s a double whammy: not only did she end up on the wrong side of powerful people in the industry for decisions in her personal life, she is also a woman in a male dominated industry.