Three of actor Shane Nigam's films have been unceremoniously scrapped. The decision was announced by M Renjith, President of the Kerala Film Producers' Association (KFPA), in a press meet. These films are Veyil, Ullasam and
When TNM contacted Shane, however, he appeared to be completely taken aback by the decision.
"I was not the one who complained. I didn't go to any association and complain. 10-15 of them in the association discussed it among themselves and took the decision and they informed the press. Nobody asked me for my side," he said.
The spat between producers and Shane has been in the news ever since the actor posted a Facebook video, alleging that Veyil producer Joby George had issued death threats to him for getting a haircut. Joby had allegedly been upset that Shane had violated his contract by changing his appearance while in the middle of shooting the film. Shane had also claimed that Joby had abused his family. However, after the intervention of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA) and the KFPA, the issue seemed to have settled down. Joby even apologised to Shane for abusing his family.
But a few days ago, Shane once again sparked controversy by posting a picture of him sporting a new haircut. Asked why he did so, Shane said, "I did it as a protest."
However, when asked why he was protesting, Shane did not elaborate on his complaints. Instead, he said, "I went to talk to them about why I protested. I spoke to the same producers' association that's been telling me for the past four days not to speak to the media and to delete my Instagram account. Till last evening, Anto Joseph, Siyad Koker and Maha Subair were telling me there's no hurry, no problem. They said I was their boy and there was no issue, that they have no intention of suppressing me. I don't know who to call and ask about this sudden decision."
Manglish director Salam Bappu was the one mediating between Shane and the producers.
KPFA Treasurer Rakesh B, however, told TNM that it was Shane's lack of discipline that had made the association take such a decision.
“For the shooting of Veyil, he has arrived on time to the sets for 2-3 days only. The rest of days, he would either disappear, or simply refuse to get out of his caravan, fight and argue with the crew and disrupt the shooting. We had to call his mother who came all the way from Kochi to the location site to drill some good sense into him. The next day he sparked a fight asking who informed his mother and took off on his motorcycle,” Rakesh B, KFPF Treasurer, told TNM.
Contradicting the claims made by the producers, Shane's mother Sunila told Manorama that the allegations against her son were baseless. According to the report, Sunila said that Shane had not turned up for Veyil shooting only because he'd been at work till 2.30 am.
"One day around 9 am, I received a call from Sharath, director of the movie Veyil, the shooting of which was underway, that Shane had walked out of the location. I immediately called Shane and he told me that the previous day's shooting had lasted till 2.30 am and that my call had woken him up from sleep. He also informed me that the next day shoot was at noon," the report quotes Sunila.
She has also said that for Qurbaani, Shane had gone for a shoot despite being ill with food poisoning due to veteran actor Charuhasan's schedule, but that the latter decided not to go ahead with it since Shane looked drained.
At the press meet, the association also alleged that the young crop of actors in the industry were involved in substance abuse and that they would welcome the Excise Department to do a check on the shooting locations and caravans. Sunila has denied that Shane is on drugs in her interview with Manorama.
A film journalist who closely follows the industry told TNM that previously too, star sons have thrown tantrums on the sets but that such strict action has never been taken on them.
"None of Shane's projects have been stalled because of substance abuse or whatever. The issue is only with these two films (Veyil and Qurbaani, only dubbing is pending for Ullasam). The issue seems to be that he spoke up against the producers when they allegedly humiliated him," he said.
After Shane's new photograph on Instagram sent tongues wagging about what his intentions were, Ishq director Anuraj Manohar had come out in support of Shane on Wednesday and said, “The face of cinema is the actor. I believe that they have to be made comfortable on the sets in order to bring their best output. That is the producer’s responsibility. The attacks on social media against Shane really pain me. I hope the issue will be peacefully resolved by those concerned with discussions. Cinema is the life breath of thousands of people. Every issue will create deep wounds. Two parties should set aside their personal complexes and unite for cinema."