This Sunday, on March 13, an event in remembrance of late actor Kalabhavan Mani was held in the actor’s hometown in Chalakkudy. Several celebrities, including actors Mohanlal, Mammootty, and Vikram, attended the event, jointly organised by the deceased actor’s friends and AMMA, the association of Malayalam movie actors. However, the absence of Vinayan TG, the director whose films served as the launchpad for Mani’s stardom, was striking.
Vinayan was one of the few directors who cast Mani in performance-oriented roles in the early stages of his career. It was through Vinayan’s Vasanthiyum Lakshmiyum Pinne Njanum and Karumadikuttan that Mani rose from the level of a comic supporting actor to the league of bankable stars in Malayalam cinema. The actor and the director collaborated in 13 films, out of which at least 3 films featured Mani in the lead. According to a post on Vinayan’s Facebook, the organisers had neither informed him nor invited him to the event.
“It shows the hypocrisy of the industry.. Those who kept Mani at a distance, although he was as talented or more talented than them, now say he was a brother to them,” said Vinayan in the post. “It’s better such people don’t invite me to share the dais with them. I don’t need them. All I need is the memories of the relationship I had with Mani while trying to reveal the great actor in him, those 13 films I did with him..”
Mani was closer to his modest friends in his hometown than to the big names in Mollywood, said Vinayan. “Mani was different from the actors who revelled in success and luxury. He never forgot his humble beginnings,” he added. In his latest interview with Malayala Manorama, the director said that a Malayalam star had told the event organisers that he would not share the dais with Vinayan. “I didn’t know such a function was being held at Chalakudy. A few days back, I was invited for Mani’s memorial function in Thripunithara and I squeezed in time to attend it. I had even gone for Mani’s ‘Sanjayanam’ (post funeral rites) too. I, along with Kanam Rajendran, spent some time with his wife Nimmi that day. But trust me, none of those men who partook in the commemoration was seen there at his house then…”
Vinayan, who has directed a number of highly successful films, was subjected to an unsaid ban inside the industry after he spoke out against the stand taken by some of his colleagues, while he was the head of MACTA (Malayalam Cine Technicians Association Federation). Vinayan has often lashed out at the AMMA (Association Of Malayalam Movie Actors) for its casteist policies. He openly accused actor-politician Innocent, the current president of the AMMA, of being casteist and refusing to act with Kalabhavan Mani in ‘Vasanthiyum Lakshmiyum Pinne Njanum.’
Feature Image Credit: ManoramaOnline