29 members from the Malayalam film industry have written a petition in support of Kamal KM, who was reportedly insulted by the vice-chairman of ESG, Goa.

Kerala filmmaker asked to go back home at IFFI demands apologyKamal KM
Flix Film Sunday, November 25, 2018 - 18:22

Kamal KM would not have imagined being snubbed one day for hailing from Kerala and told to go back home. One hears of various celebrities being asked to go to Pakistan if somebody decided that a comment they said was anti-national. But Kamal, a filmmaker from Kerala who is attending the International Film Festival of India in Goa, was not making any “comment”; he was asking a valid question about long queues and delayed entry.

Vice-chairperson of the Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG), Rajendra Talak, was reportedly unhappy with this question, and told him, “I know you are from Kerala. You should go back home.” Kamal gave a complaint to the CEO of IFFI, Ameya Abhyankar. A day later, 29 members from the Malayalam film industry, including 11 national award winners, wrote a petition expressing solidarity with Kamal and demanding an apology and explanation from Talak.

“It was the screening of the film The Guilty. The show was at 12.15 pm and there was a long queue of people with tickets, waiting to get in after those with reservation entered. Although we arrived at the venue some 30 to 45 minutes before the screening, there was a large queue in front of us. But none of us was allowed to enter even at 12, and people in the front began questioning the organisers. The police said an official would soon come to resolve the issue,” Kamal tells TNM.

“The official arrived and told us not to shout. We didn’t know who he was then. He claimed we were late; that’s when I interfered. I told him that we had been waiting in queue for 30 to 45 minutes and that he came late and lied to us. A heated argument followed and people began shouting ‘Shame, shame’. Then the official – who I later understood was a national award-winning filmmaker Rajendra Talak – said that there would be a repeat screening. It is when I asked what time it would be that he told me to go back to Kerala. It was directed not just at me, but a few of us from the film industry gathered there,” he adds.

During the protests at IFFI - Rajendra Talak with the delegates

Even the police at the venue were angered by Rajendra’s behaviour and suggested that Kamal complain to the CEO. Ameya heard him out and apologised on behalf of IFFI. Kamal gave him the written complaint, addressed to the chairperson of ESG, who also happens to be the Goa Chief Minister, Manohar Parrikar.

“As a citizen of India, I feel extremely humiliated being a subject of such a comment from a responsible person occupying a public office. This comment challenges the very federal nature of our democracy and it is against the fundamental principles of our Constitution,” the complaint reads. He also demands a public apology from Talak, which is yet to come.

On Saturday, 29 people from the film industry joined him in his fight and wrote a petition.

“We, the below mentioned signatories, are bringing out this statement to express our solidarity with Kamal KM, our colleague and filmmaker and all the other delegates who were present at Kala Academy, on 22nd November 2018 and was disrespected by Mr Rajendra Talak (Vice Chairman of ESG, IFFI) through his rude remarks and comments,” the statement begins. It goes on to say that the remark made to Kamal was ‘anti-constitutional and undemocratic, challenging the federal nature of our democracy'.

“We as filmmakers are hurt that this has happened at the venue of IFFI, the most important festival for cinema in India. We demand an adequate explanation and apology from Mr Talak and appropriate action form concerned authorities,” says the statement, signed by filmmakers, actors and technicians like Dr Biju, Rajeev Ravi, Dileesh Pothan, Aashiq Abu, Zakariya Muhammed, Sameer Thahir, Shyam Pushkaran, Rima Kallingal and Sanalkumar Sasidharan, among others.

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