Actress Ramya conflict with producer Ganesh took a new turn after Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce President Basant Kumar Patil announced a one-year ban on the actress.
While film persons largely condemned the decision, Ramya said, "This is a big joke, still I'd like to question the joke. I'm banned because I helped someone in need? Is it wrong to stand up for truth?"
She also wondered what the point of a ban was when she had announced her decision to quit Kannada films a while ago.
But ban or no ban, Ramya maintained that she was yet to receive the money that she had lent Ganesh during the shoot of their film Dandam Dashagunam. Following Ramya's frequent reminders about the loan, Ganesh went on a television channel, displayed cash and said that he would give the money back through senior actor Ambareesh. He added that Ramya had not 'helped' him by giving money, as he would be paying the interest as well.
Ramya denied this and furnished documents in her defense.
It may be recalled that the trouble started when Ramya refused to attend the audio release function of Dandam Dashagunam. Ganesh had expressed his displeasure over the absence of the actress and it was only after media reports hinted at Ramya's 'unprofessionalism' that the actress came out and said that she had not attended the launch, as he owed her money. She had also said that the producer had promised to return the money in two months time but had failed to do so, following which he had even stopped taking her calls.
What miffed Ramya further was that he had landed up at her doorstep asking her to attend the function, without even mentioning the loan. The criticisms she received following Ganesh's 'false' claims had also led her to take a voluntary retirement from Kannada films.
With Ganesh having decided to return the money immediately, it did seem like the saga would finally end. But the chamber's decision to ban Ramya only complicated things. It made way for a whole new discussion on how justified a ban was. Some producers and artistes felt that no one had the right to issue a ban against anyone, while others felt that it was a knee jerk reaction to artistes' refusal to act in Ganesh's films for the next one year.
Says a producer, "The ban was unnecessary. Also any major decision should be given a nod by the Executive Committee of the chamber. The EC includes exhibitors, distributors and producers. But the president (BK Patil) in the presence of some 60 odd producers took this decision. What's more is that some of the active producers have rejected the ban!"
He adds that following this incident, members are again urging for the ouster of Patil. "All he had to do was to sit the conflicting parties and settle the matter. But he opted for a drastic and unwanted measure," the producer added.
A former president observes, "This seems to be a reply to the ban on Ganesh. But the artistes took the decision as they felt that he had failed to treat their co-artist with dignity. Also some were bothered with the fact that this system of artistes funding films had come out in the open because of Ganesh."
A former chamber member says, "The actress was right in demanding the return of the money before the release. And in such cases, if the money lent has to be recovered, it has to be done so before the release as there are chances of the producer sliding way by saying the film didn't do good business and that too because they had lost our star value!"
But the good news for fans amidst all this is that Ramya has decided to act again after repeated requests by her fans. In fact, some fans staged a protest in front of the chamber yesterday.
Noted producer Munirathna has even offered Ramya a role in his film.