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Priyadarshan's films banned
Jim Josekutty |
June 07, 2003 19:41 IST
Malayalam writer-director Priyadarshan is in the dock. The Kerala film producers association has banned the screening of all his films in the state. The reason: Kerala Film Chamber President Siyad Kokker has accused Priyadarshan of remaking his film, Summer In Bethlehem, in Tamil without taking his permission or paying for the rights.
Kokker has alleged Priyadarshan's latest Tamil film Laysa Laysa is an exact copy of Summer In Bethlehem. Using his clout in the industry, he has ensured that all Priyadarshan films are banned in the state till the director pays him for the copyright.
But Priyadarshan has hit back saying Laysa Laysa is a hotchpotch of various films including Summer In Bethlehem, for which he says he had taken Kokker's permission. He has added that even Summer In Bethlehem was a copy of Hollywood films like Fiddler On The Roof and Come September.
As the controversy rages on, the film chamber and the producers association have assigned director Fazil the task of settling the issue by mediating between warring duo.
Suresh Gopi's next career option
Malayalam star Suresh Gopi, who reveled in playing the cop in films, has an unusual admirer -- Congress President Sonia Gandhi. Two years ago, when Gandhi came to Kerala, she had asked local party leaders, "Where is that tall actor?"
Gopi, who has played 'the angry young man' in many Malayalam films, has no films in his kitty these days. It has been more than a year since he appeared in a film. Filmmakers seem to prefer newcomers like Dileep, Prithviraj, Jeyasurya and Kunchako Boban. Stars like Gopi, Mammooty and Mohanlal are slowly but surely fading away.
The lack of offers has prompted Gopi to take up humanitarian work. He travels across Kerala every week, inaugurating children's workshops, orphanages and children's welfare societies. "The betterment of children is my mission in life," he claims.
But those close to him reveal the humanitarian work is a façade; Gopi is actually looking at politics as his next career option. The actor is said to be maintaining good relations with Congress leaders in New Delhi and Kerala. Senior Congress leader and former chief minister K Karunakaran is a close friend. Which is why speculation is rife that Gopi will plunge into politics under the benign hand of the Congress.
The actor's closeness to Gandhi might help him in this direction. Gopi was introduced to Gandhi by her private secretary Vincent George a decade ago, when he visited Delhi for the shootings of films like Kashmiram. Since then, the actor has maintained his friendship with George.
Some of the Congress leaders in Kerala now want Gopi to contest the next Lok Sabha elections from his hometown, Kollam. The actor recently revealed that if the Congress high command wants him to fight elections, he would be happy to do so. If Gopi contests the polls, it will be the first case of a superstar joining politics in Kerala.
Soft porn has no takers
The Malayalam soft porn film industry, which threatened to ring in the death knell for mainstream films, is itself going through a tough time.
In 2001, 35 soft porn films starring sensations like Shakeela, Reshmi, Maria and Sajini did roaring business across theatres in Kerala and other southern states. Some of them were even re-made into Hindi films. But, in 2002, the number of soft porn films dwindled to 22. In the past five months, there have been only seven such releases because producers claim audiences are fed up.
Shakeela, who has acted in over a hundred soft porn films, is virtually out of business. A producer explains, "She is so huge that people are bored seeing her." Others like Maria and Reshmi can no longer lure the crowds to the theatres.
"The audience feels cheated these days when soft porn scenes reveal nothing. Some of the soft porn films are these days made by interpolating scenes from the old films. You cannot fool people for long," says the owner of a chain of theatres in Kerala.