Manju Warrier's decision to take up the lead role in director Kamal’s Aami does not seem to have gone down too well with right-wing trolls. Right from the time Bollywood superstar Vidya Balan walked out of Kamal’s proposed biopic on popular writer Kamala Das aka Kamala Surayya, the controversy surrounding his upcoming directorial venture simply refuses to die down.
Several sympathizers of the Hindu right-wing took to Facebook to solemnly advise Manju on why she should not be doing a movie directed by such an ‘anti-national’.
That the movie is about a famous Hindu writer who converted to Islam towards the fag end of her life made it even more imperative that she stays away from the project, they strongly felt.
Kamal had to recently bear the brunt of the hate campaign over his stand criticizing the arrest of those who did not stand up when the national anthem was played in theatres, during the International Film Festival of Kerala held in Thiruvananthapuram in December last year.
Things took a turn for the worse when Kamal termed Prime Minister Narendra Modi a ‘man-eater’. This readily earned him the ‘anti-national’ moniker, bestowed on him by ‘patriots’.
Reports say this was what made Vidya back out of the project at the last moment, though she has not officially confirmed the reason till date.
Sources close to Vidya and Kamal however deny such reports, though the latter did term Vidya’s leaving him in the lurch as unethical.
On Wednesday, however, it was Kamal himself who gladly informed the media that Manju Warrier would now play the lead in the movie.
He also said that he would legally move against Vidya, as her last-moment ditch had caused a huge loss to the movie that was supposed to have begun filming in November.
And that was the cue for the trolls to start rolling in. Sample a few of them:
- “Manju, don’t forget that Kamaluddin who called our Prime Minister a man-eater is your director. The bad name that you will earn will be yours forever, so play carefully….”
- “It is not right to work with a controversial director. It has hurt many of your fans.”
- “Whether Manju acts well or not, this movie is sure to be a hit, as her star value has increased, after she joined forces with anti-national Kamaluddin & co. That she chose to eat the food-remains left by Communist traitors is sure to add glory to her name.”
- “Manju, this will prove to be a cursed role…today or tomorrow you will realize...Don't fall into Kamaluddin’s trap.”
- “You got this role as a reward for inaugurating a function that was held to express solidarity with director Kamal. You can act. But remember the audience reserves the right to not watch the movie. You are pampering the attitude of one who has insulted the Hindu religion.”
- “Since you can act, you are sure to earn. But there is a different side to the story. A self-declared Muslim scholar deceived Madhavikutty and converted her to Islam, for which he got Rs, 15 crore from a Muslim organisation in UAE. When you act in this movie, you will do injustice to her soul. This movie will bomb, as Madhavikutty’s curse is sure to be upon it!”
“Mr. Kamaluddin would be very happy to make a film on Mrs. Das, as her life itself was very dramatic & resembles a masala movie. That she finally embraced Islam is sure to have made him even happier. He has proven to be very outspoken & impolite, when speaking in public. But why should Ms. Manju worry? It is your profession! Go ahead and do it & wait for the result. Waiting to see whether he does justice to the true life of Mrs. Das….”
Following such a massive outpour of criticism, Manju herself stepped into social media and penned the following response on Facebook to her detractors as well as her fans:
“I am preparing to act in Aami the biopic on Malayalam’s favourite writer Madhavikutty. Since a lot of controversies have erupted around this movie, let me make one thing clear.
Acting in this movie should not be considered a political declaration of sorts. Neither is it to be interpreted as me aligning with director Kamal’s political beliefs. I see Kamal Sir as my Guru…..I am excited to once again have the opportunity to associate myself with the great artist in him after 20 years, not his politics…..
My country is my politics. I go to the temple twice a day to offer prayers, just the same way I bow my head in reverence when I am in front of a church or mosque.
Madhavikutty is a legend….Kindly view Aami as just a movie, and my role as a character in it. Cinema is an art-form. People who work behind the camera will have their own ideologies and politics, but they set all that aside to create good cinema. We need to be able to discern the true intentions of all those out there who seem to hell-bent on creating a needless controversy.
I view the movie as one which will turn out to be the pride of each Malayali, as well as Malayalam’s historical submission to world cinema. ….Your support alone is my strength. Do stay by my side. #ManjuWarrier#Aami"