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Dubbing Union To Chinmayi: Pay 1.5 Lakh And Apologise

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The Dubbing Union has asked singer and voice artiste Chinmayi to pay Rs 1.5 lakh, and send an apology letter, to get reinstated to the union. Chinmayi has responded saying the union has made lakhs from her income since 2006. She asks why big actors and directors are ‘life time’ members of the union, while she, who has been working since 2006, has to become a ‘new member’.

She tweeted, “Apparently I have to pay 1.5 lakhs, send an apology note and then the dubbing union will reinstate me and let me work in Tamil Nadu in Tamil films. The union has made lakhs from my income since 2006. And I have to pay 1.5 lakhs again for my right to work,” she said.

Chinmayi pointed out that she has paid her subscription fee of Rs 2,500 as per the union by-laws that changed after Radha Ravi became its president in 2006.

In an earlier report, she said, “I paid my entire salary of Rs 15,000 that I made on my first film Sillunu Oru Kaadhal in 2006. I’ve paid way past my life membership fee, and I have no clarity on this.”

She also said that all members must pay 10% of their dubbing union income for every project they take up. 5% of this went to the PRO. But none of this was on paper, and a dubbing artiste could not raise an invoice. So she started having income tax issues. “They’d told me there were a lot of legal issues and hurdles, and asked me not to make payments to South Indian Cine, Television Artistes and Dubbing Artistes Union (SICTADAU),” she said.

In November, Chinmayi was terminated from the union for not paying this subscription fee. This was a few weeks after she accused lyricist Vairamuthu in the #MeToo campaign, and supported those accusing Radha Ravi, head of Dubbing Union, of alleged sexual misconduct.

Since then, Chinmayi has asked many questions about irregularities against Radha Ravi and the Dubbing Union. Dubbing artistes Booma and Dasararthy, who were suspended from the union, and Mathiazhagan, who was terminated, have also spoken about this.

They have asked about the union’s 10% deduction from their income, its membership or subscription fee, its pending legal cases and expenses met using the 10% they have been paid, the lack evidence for Radha Ravi’s ‘Datuk’ honour, and the absence of an Internal Complaints Committee in the Union.

Earlier this week, a few members of the union organised a press meet, saying all of these allegations against Radha Ravi and the union were false. They said they were happy with Radha Ravi as their president, and that Chinmayi’s fame after #MeToo was letting her take the law into her hands.

“Anyone who hasn’t paid membership fee for a year, automatically has their membership cancelled. In the union, no one’s going to go ask anyone to pay,” a member said, adding that membership was however compulsory if one wanted to dub for Tamil films. “If you want to dub for Tamil films, you must pay. We ask you to become a member,” he said.

He also said the 10% income was never deducted by the union directly. “To say the union makes the cut is wrong because it is the in-chargers who give us 7 percent of the cut, after keeping 2.5 percent for themselves.”

He was then prompted by a member sitting beside him, after which he said, “Actually only 5 percent comes to the in-charger and 5 percent to us. Even this information Chinmayi doesn’t know. And anyway she doesn’t pay, so what is she fighting for?”

About Chinmayi’s allegation that Radha Ravi gave himself the ‘Datuk’ title and named the union building ‘Datho Radha Ravi Valaagam’ only after being selected for it by the Malaysian government, the union member said at the meet, “Radha Ravi sir will talk about the award.”

Radha Ravi hasn’t clarified these allegations. After Chinmayi spoke to a representative of the Chief Minister of Melaka, Malaysia, and confirmed that Radha Ravi never received the honour, Radha Ravi said, “She is not even aware of who are given the ‘Datuk’ award in Malaysia. I have all evidences for the award I have received and I will unveil them as soon as I reach Chennai, as I’m in Pudukottai currently.” This was reported on December 3. Radha Ravi hasn’t made a statement yet.

Asking members to apologise for raising voice against the union, is a protocol. At the press meet, a reporter asked the member about Booma Subbarao, who was suspended in 2016 for refusing to visit Radha Ravi at his residence to become a member.

He said, “She was not removed for raising her voice. One has to follow an organisation’s rules. If someone doesn’t follow rules, and if they go against members, even then we don’t immediately remove them. We call and talk to them. If it seems like a fair point, we tell them not to repeat this further. We ask them for an apology, and go on with work.”

Like Chinmayi now, Booma Subbarao filed a case against the termination. She got herself reinstated in the union, but she said barely any work has come her way. Chinmayi too said, “Because of the termination I now can’t dub in any Tamil films, and I’ve lost opportunities and work.”

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