Actor Prakash Raj also urged the government to intervene into the issue of loan sharks.

Law and film industry must stop torture by loan sharks Kamal Haasan
news Loan sharks Thursday, November 23, 2017 - 11:00

More than a day after Ashok Kumar, an associate producer and the cousin of director Sasikumar, killed himself following alleged harassment by loan sharks, actor Kamal Haasan tweeted his condolences to the family on Thursday.  

Arguing that the law and those in the film industry should stop the torture of loan sharks, the star pointed out that the practice of ‘kandhu vatti’ or usury affects everyone – whether rich or poor.

“The law and the cinema people must stop the torture by loan sharks, which affects everyone from poor farmers to film industry people who are believed to be rich. We should not allow any more incidents like the untimely death of Ashok Kumar. Condolences from the art industry to his family and friends,” tweeted Kamal. 

Reacting to Ashok’s suicide, actor Prakash Raj urged the government to intervene into the matter.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, the actor said, “I think the government needs to intervene in this. The cinema field is becoming unsafe. We work and take our salaries and move on, but at the end of the day, this is what the situation of the producers is. Even the people must think about it; they should stop watching films on pirated copies because these are the things that affect producers majorly.”

Calling the producer’s death a tragedy, Prakash Raj also said, “All of us take loans to make films, and we are unable to stop that. There is always an effort to try and somehow repay it. But now, we cannot accept the kind of torture that would trigger somebody to commit suicide, and the government or the law must handle this. Only 10% of the industry takes enormous salaries and works on big scales, whereas the remaining 90% is filled with small film producers. We have come to a time where we have to do everything legally. At least, from now on, we should stop taking black money, increasing the expenditure and putting so much pressure on producers and making them approach usury lenders to receive money.”

Actor Sarath Kumar, however, stated that he cannot accept that Ashok Kumar would kill himself following harassment by loan sharks.

Ashok Kumar was found dead in his apartment in Chennai on Tuesday, after allegedly hanging himself. A two-page suicide note left behind blamed film financier Madurai Anbu Chezhian for his decision to take his life. Ashok states in his letter that he has been paying back the loan to Anbu Chezhian for the last seven 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 Anbu Chezhiyan. 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.

Anbu Chezhiyan’s company Gopuram Films, however, issued a statement on Wednesday denying having any dealing with Ashok, and questioned if the suicide note found was really written by the deceased.

“Ashok Kumar is Sasikumar’s assistant. We have had no financial dealings with Ashok Kumar. Sasikumar is the one who took money from us to produce films. The fact that a person who has had no financial dealings with us has written our name in the letter is shocking and surprising,” the statement by R Murali of Gopuram Films said.

 

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