Manchu Vishnu lists changes in Telugu Movie Artists Association membership guidelines

As per the association’s new rules, a lead actor should at least have two releases, either in theatres or on a streaming platform, to be a life member of the MAA, says president Manchu Vishnu.
MAA president Manchu Vishnu speaks at the press meet
MAA president Manchu Vishnu speaks at the press meet
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A year after he defeated actor Prakash Raj in a dramatic election to become the president of the Movie Artists Association (MAA), Manchu Vishnu met with the media on Thursday, October 13, at a hotel in Madhapur of Hyderabad, to list out the new panel’s achievements so far and the kind of amendments made to the association’s existing rules. Vishnu’s biggest promise while running the elections, which was that he would construct a building specially for the MAA at his own personal expense, is however yet to materialise. Speaking to media persons on Thursday, Vishnu said that it would take another three years for the building to come up, in accordance with a decision taken by MAA as a whole.

“During a meeting in the presence of at least 200 members from the association, I had raised two options. One was to buy a building, 20 to 30 minutes away from Film Nagar. I have seen the building, and it can be made ready in the next six months. Meanwhile, the current Film Chamber office is going to be demolished, and a new one would come in its place. Hence, option two was to have our own office space in the new Film Chamber building. All the members have opted for the second option, as it is more convenient to everyone. So, it has been decided that we will have our own office within three years. Until then, I will bear the costs of the MAA office space,” he explained at the press meet.

New membership guidelines

A number of changes have been made to the guidelines regarding gaining membership in MAA, Vishnu said. “As per the new rules, a lead actor should at least have two releases, either in theatres or on a streaming platform, to be a life member of the MAA. Similarly, for a character artist to get life membership, they should have been in at least 10 movies, with a screen space of at least five minutes in each of those movies and dialogues spanning at least two minutes,” he said. Other members can apply for ‘associate membership’, which was earlier referred to as ‘temporary membership’. Besides, only those who have had a life membership for at least five years would be eligible to contest or even vote in the MAA elections in the future, he added.

Further, even actors from other film industries cannot just “act and go” in Tollywood, Vishnu said, adding that they too should take a membership with MAA. “We have already discussed this with our producers and production houses, to make sure that all actors concerned take membership with MAA. Anyone who breaks this rule would be notified, and after a couple of warnings, action would be taken,” he said.

The MAA president said these guidelines were changed so as to make the association’s bylaws more “user friendly” for actors.

‘Do not approach media’

Vishnu also stated that no member should go to the media against MAA, and that their membership would be recalled in case such an incident takes place. “Anybody can speak against me, but not against the association,” said Vishnu, while drawing parallels with the Sedition Act slapped on those who speak against the country.

“If there is an issue, it should be resolved within the association. They should not go to the media. If anyone goes to the media before coming to us, we would not entertain such cases,” warned the president. Stating how every rule has to change in accordance with time, he added that some other redundant rules would also be removed from the association’s bylaws after consulting with a legal team. 

Benefits for members

As per the new rules, all life members of MAA would be eligible for free health insurance and health checkups. “Health checkups costing about 28,000 to 45,000 are being provided for free via the health camps set up once every four months for the members. There is also free medical insurance,” Vishnu said, considering this his team’s biggest achievement thus far. He also said that the children of MAA’s members will get a 30% discount on school fees in all schools under the Brilliant group, and that agreements have been made accordingly.

Besides, each member of the executive council will be a mentor to 50 members of the association, and any issues they might have should be taken care of by the respective mentor. Also, to ensure that all members of MAA get equal opportunities, the team is also in the process of making an app connecting actors and production houses soon, he said.

Moreover, speaking about the welfare and protection of women actors, Vishnu said that a high power committee has been formed under the leadership of Sunitha Krishnan, an activist known for her fight against sex crime and trafficking. They would function only as per the Vishaka guidelines, he said.

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