Entertainment News

CS Venkiteswaran quits Kerala film academy over decision to make Mohanlal chief guest for awards

The move to invite the Malayalam superstar a ‘very insensitive gesture’, the film critic told Scroll.in.

Film critic CS Venkiteswaran on Tuesday resigned from the general council of the Kerala Chalachitra Academy to protest the decision to invite actor Mohanlal as chief guest at this year’s Kerala State Film Awards ceremony.

The Academy is an autonomous body under the state’s department of cultural affairs and organises the prestigious annual awards. Venkiteswaran told Scroll.in that the general council had appealed to the state government many times not to make Mohanlal the chief guest, as it would be a “very insensitive gesture.” The Malayalam superstar is the chairman of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists, which has been under fire for moving to reinstate actor Dileep, who had been ousted from the guild last July after his arrest in a sexual assault case. Dileep, who has been accused of planning the abduction and sexual assault of a Malayalam actress, turned down the invitation saying he wants to establish his innocence. AMMA’s stance met with criticism from several quarters, including film industry members, activists and academics.

“In the general council, we had taken the decision to not convert the award ceremony into a star night,” Venkiteswaran said. “When we heard that there is a plan to invite Mohanlal as chief guest, we also protested vehemently against it saying it would be a very insensitive gesture and the academy should desist from it, and if he is invited, we will be boycotting it. We said this in the context of AMMA, the organisation which he heads deciding to reinstate Dileep in the organisation.”

However, the state showed no indication of reconsidering its decision. “Then we issued a statement against inviting any star for the award ceremony – this statement didn’t mention Mohanlal but appealed to the government to make it a simple function where the awardees will be the super stars,” Venkiteswaran explained. “The signatories included K Sachidanandan, NS Madhavan, Sunil P Elayidam, many filmmakers, technicians, writers and critics including six general council members.”

When the state government persisted with its decision, Venkiteswaran felt there was no point continuing in the academy, he said. “Hence the resignation,” he added. “I think inviting Mohanlal as chief guest at this moment will send very wrong signals and this is a time when we should firmly stand for women’s rights and freedom within the film industry.”

The actor has reportedly accepted the state government’s invitation to be chief guest at the ceremony, which will be held on August 8.

Earlier, members of the film industry too had protested the decision to invite a celebrity chief guest – as per tradition, the chief minister gives out the awards. On July 18, filmmaker Biju Damodaran, who was on the jury for this year’s awards, said he would boycott the ceremony if Mohanlal was made chief guest. Though he did not name the superstar, he referred to the controversy over AMMA.

On July 23, more than 100 activists and members of the Malayalam film industry wrote to the Kerala chief minister, asking him to reconsider the decision to appoint a chief guest.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Innovations in payment options are making premium products more accessible

No need for documentation or applications to own high-quality items

Credit cards have long been associated with an aspirational lifestyle. The ability to buy something out of your wish list without needing to pay the entire amount can tempt even the most disciplined shoppers. A designer couch, the latest mobile phone, a home entertainment system or a car, as long as you can pay back the borrowed amount within the grace period, your credit card purchases know no bounds.

However, credit cards, pre-approved or not, come with a number of complications. The tedious application procedure starts with the collection and submission of various documents. Moreover, there are several reasons your credit card application might get rejected including low income that compromises your repayment capability, certain occupations or work history, mistakes in the application form, possession of multiple cards or even a failed physical verification attempt. While applying for a credit card might have become easier, the success of the application can take time and effort.

Credit card owners are regaled with benefits all year round with attractive EMIs, offers on purchases, airline miles, lounge access, cashbacks and a plethora of exclusive deals. It’s worth noting that debit card owners don’t get even half of these benefits and offers, despite the sheer size of the debit card customer base in the country (846.7 million compared to 36.2 million credit card holders).

This imbalance of finance and purchase options between credit card and debit card owners is slowly changing. For instance, the new EMIs on debit card feature on Flipkart ensures affordability and accessibility to Indian consumers who don’t own credit cards. The payment innovation increases the purchasing power of the consumer. By providing credit access to non-credit card holders, expensive and high-quality products are made more affordable for a large base of customers without denting their cash flow. The video below comically captures a scenario that people who don’t own a credit card will relate to.


Flipkart’s EMIs on debit card feature doesn’t require a minimum account balance, documentation, nor does it charge a processing fee, making online shopping a seamless experience even for more high-end products. To find out if you’re eligible for EMIs on debit card, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Flipkart and not by the Scroll editorial team.