A cousin of popular Tamil cinema director Sasikumar, Ashok Kumar, who was also an associate producer in some of Sasikumar's films, hanged himself to death on Tuesday. He was found dead in his apartment in Chennai.
In a purported 2-page suicide note he left behind, which is being widely circulated, Ashok has blamed film financier Madurai Anbuchezhian for his decision to take his life. Ashok states in his letter that he has been paying back the loan to Anbuchezhian for the last 7 years and is not able to cope with it anymore, since he was being continuously harassed and insulted.
"For the last 10 years all the films we have produced have released on time. The only big sin that we committed was to take a loan from Anbuchezhiyan. For the last seven years he has been taking interest upon interest from us, but for the last six months he has been behaving in a very derogatory manner. Using his men he has been targeting the women and elders in my house. Who can I go to for help? All the people like the bigshots in the class of officers (police), in the government, Cinema Federation chief Selvin Raj, are in his pocket. I cannot oppose him," the suicide note says.
Absolving Sasikumar in a message to his family, the note also addresses the director, saying, "My dear Sashikumar I cannot bear the fact that they are torturing you because of me. Because I donâ€™t have the power to save you from them I am taking my own life. You are a good man and you should be well. Donâ€™t become a coward like me."
The note also says, "Someone please tell Anbuchezhiyan that he may be able to manage officials and the government. But when he's alone, ask him to speak to his conscience."
Sasikumar shot to fame after he brought back in vogue movies set in rural Tamil Nadu, like Nadodigal and Subramaniapuram. Ashok Kumar worked as an associate producer in his film company.
Following the death, Sasikumar, and his friends in the industry directors Ameer and Samuthrakani, have filed a complaint against the financier Anbuchezhian at the Valsaravakkam police station in Chennai.
â€śHe was my cousin. He was like my shadow, he was a co-producer. He used to manage my film and financial affairs,â€ť Sasikumar said.
Director Ameer, has meanwhile blamed Anbucheziyan for the death of Ashok Kumar. "He was paying interest and interest for interest. How much embarrassment can he take?" he asked, speaking to the media.
"Only in cinema everybody can speak like heroes, but in reality, we are all struggling. The loans sharks want the interest and at the same time, they block the release of the movie. Producers' council must sit and talk about these issues or else it would lose its purpose," said Ameer.
"The involvement of loans sharks providing finance to Kollywood producers has always been a serious issue which the state government had conveniently avoided to tackle as big profile players are involved. Even this matter will pass away silently," Ameer said.