Expelled Chinmayi to seek legal action against union

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends," these words by Martin Luther King adorns the WhatsApp display picture of singer Chinmayi. Many point out that those words clearly reflect the tumultuous times that the young singer–dubbing artist has been going through in the last few weeks. The Tamil film industry was shocked when Chinmayi, in the wake of the #MeToo movement, made some serious allegations against ace lyricist Vairamuthu.

In a series of tweets, Chinmayi revealed that the dubbing artists union has now axed her membership. The singer had also come out against actor Radha Ravi who heads the dubbing union. She had earlier tweeted, “I can see my dubbing career go up in smoke now. He heads the dubbing union.”

In a special interview to Onmanorama, Chinmayi said that she would seek the legal course against the union’s decision to oust her.

Expected move

Singer Chinmayi names Vairamuthu in #MeToo, Siddarth tweets support
Recounting an experience in 2006, Chinmayi explained how Vairamuthu threatened her with political power and said how he could end her singing career.

Chinmayi said that she had expected extreme action as the union has always taken such action against those who have raised their voice against its prominent members or criticised them. She added that the union takes 10% of the artists’ income without giving any voucher or acknowledgement in return. The union would even collect lakhs of rupees as membership fee as well. “I was expecting this to happen. However, I haven’t received any official communication about my expulsion. They are supposed to send me a show-cause notice first and then appoint a committee to probe whether I should be ousted or not. However, nothing of this sort has happened in my case. I am in the United States of America for the last one month for a concert tour. So I haven’t received any official communication regarding the matter,” noted Chinmayi.

Legal action

The singer confirmed that she would seek legal action against the dubbing union’s action as the official procedures weren’t followed while terminating her membership. Chinmayi admitted that it indeed was exhausting to be mired in more cases and legal proceedings. However, she is determined to take on the union’s decision in the court of law. “Even if the court reinstates my membership, I am sure that they wouldn’t allow me to dub for another movie,” said Chinmayi.

Bhooma Rao case

Chinmayi had, in one of her tweets, mentioned fellow dubbing artist Bhooma Rao and her tiff with the dubbing union. Bhooma too had made allegations of sexual misconduct against Radha Ravi. She was expelled from the union following this. But the dubbing artist took the legal course to have her membership reinstated.

Chinmayi said that though Bhooma got back into the union, the leadership has given strict instruction to the filmmakers not to call the artiste to dub in their movies. “Even if her voice was selected for a movie or a serial after giving an audition, she will not be called to work. So I am not sure what will happen to my career as well,” the singer said.

“The actions of the union would certainly create some repercussions. The union has been acting like this for the past few years. Those who criticise or raise a complaint against it would be ousted. They would be denied the opportunities to work as a dubbing artist. This is exactly what they are doing to me,” Chinmayi feared.

Support from actresses

Chinmai said that there were very few artists who supported her from the Tamil film industry. Actresses like Tapsee Pannu and Rakul Preet Singh had earlier tweeted in support of the singer. She says that she doesn’t know whether anyone else had tweeted as she is abroad for the concert tour. However, she vowed that she hasn’t received an overwhelming support from the industry.

Uncertain future

The singer who has thrilled the music lovers with her sweet voice admits that she is worried whether she would now get offers to sing as well. “I am currently away on a concert. I can only know whether this would affect my career as a singer when I reach there. However, I am sure that my dubbing career is almost over. I am happy that I was able to end it with an amazing movie like ‘96’. I have no idea whether the musicians' association would follow suit and oust me,” Chinmayi added.

Bollywood model

Chinmayi said that it was disappointing to hear similar news from the Malayalam industry as well. However, she is proud that a few women have decided to raise their voice against injustices. “While many remain silent in Tamil and Malayalam, things are different in Bollywood. Strict actions are taken against sexual predators there.

Bollywood has in fact shown a model which can be followed in other industries. But here, those who commit offences are allowed to thrive while the ones who raise their voices have their wings clipped. I had tweeted knowing very well that things like this would definitely happen,” said Chinmayi. 

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