A month after the ‘haircut’ controversy, actor Shane Nigam is once again having trouble with the team behind Veyil, an upcoming film starring him. In a long post on Facebook, Shane has shared the difficulties he faced on the sets of the film, alleging harassment by the crew. On the other side, the makers are unhappy with Shane coming late to the sets and spending more time in his caravan and disappearing altogether following a tiff with the director from Thursday. There were reports that the actor is likely to face a ban from the producers association, however, none of the office bearers were available for comment.
Director Sarath Menon, on a call to TNM, says that Shane has always come late to the sets, despite the lesser hours allotted to him compared to the other actors. “I know that an actor is not a machine, and have never raised voice with him. Ideally the shooting would take 24 days to finish, with a proper chart. But Shane has only 15 days and therefore we had to include more scenes than usual. But if I reach the set at 7 am, Shane would be given the time 10 am, and he would appear at 12 pm. He would shoot his scene for 15 to 30 minutes and would go back to his caravan,” Sarath says.
Shane has however alleged in his post that he has worked for 10 to 16 hours a day. “The Sarath I saw on the sets when I joined on November 16 was a different man (from what I knew before). He would make a big deal out of small issues. He shouted at my manager Satheesh when he asked for shooting schedule and chart. The light-up begins only after I am called for the shot. In the last two days, I could not even sleep because of the continuous shooting hours,” Shane writes.
The earlier controversy between Shane and producer Joby George had led to the intervention of the producers association and the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA). The producer had allegedly issued death threats against Shane for getting a haircut that would ruin the continuity of the film. Following the intervention of AMMA, it was agreed that Shane would allot 15 days for the rest of the shooting of Veyil. It is after this that he joined the sets on November 16.
“We had earlier shot for three days in May, and then from July 23 to August 12. After he joined again on November 16, the first day of shooting was somehow managed. But for two scenes in which we needed evening light and had asked him to come at 3.30, he would show up late. For a scene in the Viyyur jail where permission to shoot needs to be applied two weeks in advance, he came too late. I called and spoke to his mother about all this, and this seems to have angered Shane. The next day, he was to come at 12 pm but he just rode his bike away and wouldn’t come to the sets,” Sarath says.
Shane writes that he had considered Sarath a friend. “Sarath had met me after the film Kismath. The script he brought had many flaws. The story had no head or tail. He kept visiting me on the sets of the films I acted in. It is on the sets of Kumbalangi Nights that it had a final form. By then our acquaintance had turned into a friendship. Sarath said that the producer would agree only if he got my dates, and otherwise, he would have to take his own life. I am someone who trusts my friends blindly. It has always brought me worries.”
He goes on to write that Joby George had not only made death threats against him but also spoke ill of his parents. But he decided to still work on the film because he respected AMMA, before which he had agreed to do so. However, the director demanded more days (than the number of days initially agreed upon) and he was not ready for that, writes Shane.
He has finished eight scenes in the last two days – more than what was planned -- but he has been treated very badly, alleges Shane. “I cannot go forward, pawning my art and self-respect. I am not anyone’s slave, I am also human.”