Every film set has its problems, says Sandra Thomas on Shane Nigam controversy

Shane Nigam, mother (left), Sandra Thomas (right)
Sandra Thomas said that the Producers Association didn't take any action even when there were bigger issues in Malayalam cinema. Photo: Manorama

Producer Sandra Thomas criticized the Producers Association's decision to boycott Sreenath Bhasi and Shane Nigam. She said they didn't take any action even when there were bigger issues in Malayalam cinema. Sandra expressed her opinion that it is not appropriate to criticize Shane's mother for her involvement in his career. Instead of solving the issues amicably, they are needlessly dragging the issue to the public. In an interview with Manoramaonline, she said the decisions should be fair.

Who doesn't ask for an edit?
The current topic of discussion is film organizations boycotting Shane Nigam. I don't know what exactly happened on the sets. I only know the version written by the media. The producers claim that Shane is constantly creating problems on the sets and that he and his mom wanted to see the edit. As far as I am aware, most major stars want to see the edits. At times during spot editing, we ourselves tell the stars to check the edits. Earlier actors were able to see their performances only when the film was released. But now they can better their performance when they see the edit. Therefore, the producer himself asks the actors to check the edit. So, I don't really agree with the theory that just because you ask for edits you should be banned.

Why interpret it badly?
Just because Shane’s mom insisted on seeing the edits, she is being vilified. Usually, the managers of the actors check the edits. Here, Shane’s mom is his manager. So, is there a problem with the fact that it was his mom who wanted to see the edit? It was only when there were some issues on the sets that Shane’s mom started handling things for him. Maybe it is because he has no one else that his mom is speaking on behalf of him. I don’t think you should look at his mother's involvement in his career with hostility.

Few common issues
I am sure what I am saying will be understood by my friends in the film industry. When we approach a star with a story, we would always narrate the story giving him prominence. When he listens to the story, he will feel like he is the hero. That is why we insist that they should read the script. Here also they might have told that to Shane. But when it was after he started shooting that he perhaps realized that things aren’t exactly what was promised to him. So that would have led to a flare-up from his side. It is natural for anyone to react that way when someone breaks a promise. And most people do react that way too. But here, since Shane sent an official mail addressing his issues, they were able to use that as a weapon against him. That is not how it usually happens on the sets. On every film set, such issues are there. Such problems are usually solved on the sets. No one sends mail. This is a normal occurrence on the sets.

The ban was not needed
I am not trying to justify Shane. It is natural to feel insecure and argue regarding who has a bigger role while doing a multi-star film. I think such arguments are healthy. The competition helps in bettering each other’s performances, which will help the film. Having said that, such issues should be solved amicably than resorting to bans. Maybe Shane put across these issues as they were ignored earlier. Perhaps that’s why he decided to send an official mail. I am telling you my assumptions based on my previous experiences.

Every set will have such issues
When we had even bigger problems, no one resorted to bans. Such issues should be solved amicably than ruin a young man’s career and drag his family into the public sphere for social media to ridicule. It is not right to humiliate a 27-year-old boy and call him all sorts of names. I am against that attitude. When our children create trouble, we try to sort it out at home. Now the use of drugs is very high in Kerala. I heard that ever since Shane’s mom started taking care of his career, he is free of such problems. He should be guided and encouraged.

Decisions should be fair
If one must take names, there will be so many of them. Aren’t those at the Producers Association aware of them? Every set will have some issue or the other. There will be issues from actors and producers. The association is there for that purpose, not to declare such issues to the public. The reason why we depend on the association is to solve things internally. I am not trying to defend stars nor am I against the association. I think you should take fair decisions.

Stop this mudslinging!
I heard Sreenath Bhasi gave dates for several films at the same time. That is something a lot of actors are doing. As a producer, I have had that experience. There have been instances when they have promised me dates and have forgotten. But it is important to be responsible towards this job where your time and money are invested. Cinema is a collective effort that requires actors, technicians, and producers. They should work towards a common goal than indulge in such mudslinging. Such tendencies won’t do any good to the industry.

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