"I am upset that I have been made an accused when my intention was to make a movie for a social cause."
This is how director Jude Anthany Joseph vented against a police complaint filed by the Kochi Mayor Soumini Jain, accusing him of threatening her.
On Wednesday, a complaint was filed at Kochi central police station by the Mayor alleging that the director of popular movie Om Shanti Oshana had threatened her in her office last Saturday.
The Mayor had also said in her complaint that Jude had spoken to her in a defamatory manner, and the director was arrested and let out on bail on the basis of the complaint.
The tussle between the two started after the Mayor denied Jude permission to shoot at Subhash Park in Ernakulam district. The Mayor in her complaint says that she had informed the director that the Corporation council had decided not to give permission for shooting in the park. According to the Mayor, the director lost his cool when she informed him the same and he went ahead and threatened her.
On Thursday morning, Jude wrote a lengthy post on Facebook explaining his side. He says that the intention was to shoot a short film to create awareness on child sexual abuse starring actor Nivin Pauly.
The director, in an emotional post, explained that the planning for the film had been going on for a few months, and in spite of the Child Rights Commission, Health Minister KK Shylaja and Ernakulam MLA Hibi Eden being involved at some level in the project, the Mayor kept delaying permission.
"I am writing this note from the heart. From newspaper reports, I learnt that a police complaint has been filed against me by the Kochi Mayor... A few months ago, I came across many news items on child sexual abuse (CSA) and in many places, the perpetrators were the victim's relatives. I felt that it would be good to create awareness regarding this. There are videos on Youtube in Hindi and English, there is also an awareness video by Aamir Khan, so I thought why not do one in Malayalam."
The director then says that he approached Nivin Pauly, who readily agreed to be a part of the short film.
"This was in November, and from then on, the planning started on how to make the movie and ensure it reaches more children. I approached the Child Rights Commission, who vetted my script twice or thrice till a final script was prepared. Health Minister Shylaja teacher declared full support and said that she would give us an opportunity to telecast the movie in all schools. It is at that time that I got in touch with Bodhini, an NGO that works on CSA, and they said they will bear the expenses of shooting the video. Soon, we zeroed in on Subhash Park as the location."
The director then goes on to say that Congress MLA Hibi Eden, who was also a part of Bodhini, assured of all help to obtain permission to shoot in Subhash Park. But, the Mayor disagreed, he says.
"I had met her at an event once, and having that familiarity I spoke to her over phone. She disagreed and told me that she would allow only if we got an order from the Government. Following this, I approached Shylaja teacher and she wrote a letter saying our request should be considered as a special case and permission should be granted. Nivin, who is a busy star, agreed to give us a date on April 5. On April 2 (Sunday), I called the Mayor on the phone and asked her for an appointment and she told me to meet her on Monday at her office. When I went to her office, she told me that I had insulted her by approaching Shylaja teacher, when the park was under her control."
Jude then writes that he apologized to the Mayor and requested her to give permission for a good cause.
"You close your eyes when many bad things happen in front you, it is sad that you wouldn't help for a good cause. I told her this and left her office. We found another park and finished the shooting on Wednesday."
The director ends his long post by saying that when he learnt of the police complaint, he approached the Mayor again with an apology, but she insisted that he call a press conference and make a public apology. He concludes saying that it has saddened him that he has been made a culprit when his intention was to make a movie with a social cause.
"I will not venture for any social activities from here on," he says.
Read Jude Anthany Joseph's entire Facebook post here: