Director Lijo Jose Pallisery's Malayalam film Angamaly Diaries may have opened to rave reviews, but not everyone is pleased with the film. At issue is the film referring to a Malayali Maoist leader, currently an undertrial in a Coimbatore jail, as a criminal.
Ami, the daughter of Shyna and Roopesh, members of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) arrested from Andhra Pradesh in 2015 after being on the run for many years, has issued a legal notice to the director for depicting her mother in poor light.
According to Ami, the couple's 21-year-old daughter, her mother Shyna's photograph is shown in the film, and she is described as a "wanted" criminal, and has thereby been defamed.
"It is a scene used to describe the notorious nature of the villain characters in the film, when their photographs are placed on a "wanted" notice board at Angamaly police station. Among criminals and murderers, one of the photographs is of Comrade Shyna. An enlarged, high-quality photograph of Shyna, under the name of Shanta appears in three scenes throughout the film," Ami wrote on Facebook on Thursday.
Strongly criticising Lijo, Ami described Comrade Shyna as a leader who set aside her entire life for the Communist movement. “She is one of those leaders who will go down in the history of the Communist revolution in Kerala,” Ami wrote.
"I wonder what kind of an attitude the film makers and other technicians of the film possess. Comrade Shyna is an undertrial who has been lodged in a jail in Coimbatore for the past two years, unable to get a transfer to a jail in Kerala. There are more than 20 cases against her... goondaism or crimes due to personal grudges are not the offences against Comrade Shyna. Instead, her offence is that she worked against the exploitative system and fought for equality," Ami's Facebook post stated.
Even the Coimbatore Sessions Court that remanded her to a jail in the district had observed that Comrade Shyna worked for the welfare of the downtrodden, Ami wrote.
Ami said that the makers of the film had jumped the gun to openly declare Shyna as a criminal, even though the court is yet to pronounce her guilty.
Ami's counsel Laiju V told The News Minute that a notice has been served to director Lijo asking him to remove the said portions from the film within a period of 30 days. Ami has also demanded that the makers of the film apologise for their actions. All this was done according to Shyna’s instructions, Ami said in her post.
"Creative liberty is one thing, calling someone a criminal is another. We have given sufficient time for the director to rectify his mistakes. In case he does not comply, we will file a defamation case after the stipulated time," Advocate Laiju said.
Despite repeated attempts to contact him, Lijo was not available for comment on the issue.
This is not the first controversy to hit the makers of Angamaly Diaries. Last week, Lijo had gone live on Facebook to claim that he and his team had been at the receiving end of harassment by the Ernakulam police.
“In Muvattupuzha, while our promotion team was travelling in a vehicle, police stopped and abused them badly. Muvattupuzha DySP was heading the team. When the people who should be protecting us are behaving this way, then how can we maintain law and order?” he alleged.
However, the police said that they stopped the vehicle as film posters were pasted on its windows. The police cited the Supreme Court ban on tinted windows for vehicles as the reason for stopping it.