Shane's comments, meet with minister irk film bodies, talks called off

Shane turns provocative, meets minister. Film bodies call off mediation
Actor Shane Nigam, Culture Minister A K Balan

Just when  it looked like a solution was near, the Shane Nigam issue is back to square one.

The young actor's provocative statements against producers after he walked out of a meeting with the Producers' Association in Kochi on Monday and his subsequent meeting with culture minister A K Balan in Thiruvananthapuram seem to have prompted both Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA) and Film Employees' Federation of Kerala (FEFKA) to abandon the mediatory role they had taken upon themselves.

The AMMA was about to call a special executive committee meeting soon after its president Mohanlal returns from a foreign trip to sort out the issue. This now stands cancelled. However, there will be the scheduled executive committee meeting on December 22. The FEFKA was roped in to solve the issue by AMMA.

The minister, after his meeting with Shane and his mother, sounded sympathetic. “He is a small boy and his future is linked to this industry. It will be good for everyone if the issues are settled amicably,” Balan said.

Producers have seen in the minister's statement a veiled threat. “We too have informed the minister of all that had happened, and that too only after we had talked in detail with Shane. It is strange that the minister has suddenly found Shane's version to be more convincing and now wants things settled in his favour,” a leading producer said. (He did not want to be named as no official discussion on the issue had taken place in the Association after Shane's visit to the minister.)

The Producers' Association has now taken the stand that any talks with Shane was possible only after he tenders an unconditional apology.

After he stormed out of the meeting with producers, Shane was highly dismissive of the producers. “I went there with the intention of solving the issue. But what happened there was a one-sided interaction. No one wants to hear what I want to say. They keep on talking like a radio and I am supposed to keep my mouth shut and obey what they say,” Shane said.

When he was told that the producers were suffering mental trauma, he was sarcastic: “I don't know whether they are mentally sad or mentally sick.”

Shane drove straight to the capital to attend the IFFK, where two of his films are being screened, and he was accorded a rousing welcome. While in Thiruvananthapuram he met culture minister A K Balan and gave the minister of his version of the controversy.

Shane had earlier told the media in Kochi that he had proof of the troubles the producers and others had been giving him. In the capital, too, he told reporters that he had had enough. “There is no justice for me. I went for the shooting of the film ('Veyil') even though they had threatened to kill me. Even then they made my life hell. I have proof for this. I cannot go on forgiving,” Shane said.

A K Balan, while meeting reporters after his talks with Shane and his mother, said that the young actor had given him his side of the story. “He told me the ban on him was clamped without hearing his side. He said he was deeply pained by producer Joby George's press conference (in which he was called a drug addict). He said he was willing to cooperate with them again,” Balan said.

Shane also handed over a copy of the contract he claimed to have had signed with the producers of 'Veyil'. “According to him, the producers were using some other contract to blame him,” Balan said.

The minister, however, said the government was not interested in taking sides. “I also cannot be a judge of what Shane said,” Balan said. The minister was also of the opinion that AMMA could easily sort out the issue.

The AMMA was collecting evidence on the issue when Shane met the minister and sought his help. Shane, too, had said his only hope was in AMMA. “It is my organisation. I know they will stand by me,” Shane said in Kochi.

Now, it looks like AMMA has also abandoned him.