The Malayalam movie world is in big trouble indeed as FEFKA (the Film Employees Federation of Kerala) came forward yesterday announcing that they wouldn’t allow the release of any new Malayalam movies in Kerala from May 8 onwards if the FEF (Film Exhibiters Federation) didn’t lift the ban on the release of Mohanlal starrer Mr. Fraud which was set to happen on the same day!
This radical movie is the work of director B Unnikrishnan, who directed Mr. Fraud and is the current General Secretary of FEFKA. Obviously, he has rallied the support of his fellow members who consist of directors, technicians and other crew of the Malayalam cine industry.
The ban on Mr. Fraud’s release occurred due to the belief of Liberty Basheer, prominent producer and FEF President, that FEFKA and AMMA (Association of Malayalam Movie Artists) members stayed away on purpose from the inaugural ceremony and function of the new FEF headquarters, and that this was B Unnikrishnan pulling strings due to a personal vendetta.
Senior FEFKA members and directors have now come forward against Basheer, who in turn has accused Unnikrishnan of being arrogant and also claims that FEFKA does not have the right or necessary authority to ban the release of new films in theatres. “Let them stop filming the movies if they dare,” added an indignant and outraged Basheer.
So, as it stands now, Mollywood for all intents and purposes, is on strike. This is unfair to the fans, of course, as over a dozen movies were to be slated to be released in May – the most anticipated one being Mr. Fraud!
According to sources, an emergency meeting of producers and distributors is to happen today to discuss the dire situation. The time and venue are unannounced at this point.
Malayalis everywhere are holding their breath to see what the outcome of this feud between two organizations, or rather two individuals, will be. Whoever ‘wins’ in the end, this kind of a public war on cinema is a disservice to the people and an unabashed and open expression of the disrespect of those behind the movies to the fans, who after all, are their bread and butter.
The politics and huge egos that operate the machinery of show business are a shameful spectacle that will definitely feed the hungry beast that is news media for days to come.