The Tamil Nadu Film Producers’ Council (TFPC) offices in Yogambal street in T Nagar and Anna Salai in Chennai witnessed high drama on Wednesday as a group of under 30 film producers locked the offices demanding TFPC President Vishal’s resignation.
The group of producers alleged that Vishal was involved in a lot of criminal activities being a part of the council and demanded he hand over the accounts of the council and resign.
Speaking to reporters at the Anna Salai office of the TFPC, producer AL Azhagappan said that no general committee meeting had been convened after Vishal assumed office. “When he became the president, Vishal promised certain things to the members of TFPC. Those promises have not been fulfilled. He has also engaged in a lot of criminal activities,” he claimed.
The producers also alleged that after Gnanavel Raja resigned as the secretary, the council did not call for an Executive Committee meeting to nominate a replacement and instead nominated Kathiresan in his place without consulting with others. They reiterated their allegations that both the vice presidents, actor Prakash Raj and director Gautham Vasudev Menon, do not attend TFPC meetings. The protestors also claimed that Vishal organised events without getting the General Committee approval, which was a violation of the byelaws.
The group locked the Anna Salai office and told reporters that the term of the office-bearers was over and hence they could not enter the office. Azhagappan also said that they would meet the IG on Wednesday evening to hand over the key or will submit it in the court on Thursday if the IG did not accept it. He also said that they would then meet the Chief Minister and seek the government’s intervention in the matter.
Lockdown of T Nagar office
The protest began on Wednesday morning when hundreds of film producers led by Azhagappan sat outside the TFPC’s T Nagar office alleging that Vishal was taking decisions without consulting the Executive and General Council of the TFPC. One of the main issues put forth by the protesting members was that the office-bearers led by Vishal had misappropriated Rs 7 crore from the council’s coffers and that the T Nagar office building rented by the TFPC was an unnecessary expenditure.
Speaking to Puthiya Thalaimurai from outside the TFPC’s T Nagar office, Azhagappan also levelled allegations against both TFPC vice presidents. “Prakash Raj has attended only one meeting of the council and Gautham Menon does not even know the location of the council,” he claimed. He also alleged that producer Gnanavel Raja, who was the council’s secretary, resigned after his hidden motives were achieved.
The producer also claimed that secrecy is maintained in the issues of movie releases and finance by Vishal and other office-bearers.
“Vishal claimed that he would get rid of Tamil Rockers, but now there are rumours that he is a partner in the piracy group. The site should have given money to the producers but we have not received anything,” he said.
However, producer Gnanavel Raja denied that there was any misappropriation of funds in the council. Speaking to TNM, he also said that the aim behind renting the building in Yogambal street in T Nagar was not achieved.
“The motive behind renting that office was to have additional space. We have only 1,700 sq ft area in the Anna Salai office, which also includes the TN film chamber. We could not fully function there and hence we took the T Nagar building for rent. However, I should add that the aim with which that office was rented was not achieved. Vishal started out well, but the execution was not right. That is why a group of producers are raising questions on the need for the T Nagar office,” he said.
When asked about the allegations that Vishal was taking decisions without the required nod from the general committee, Gnanavel Raja denied to comment on it saying he was not aware of the specific matter.