High drama prevailed at the office of the Tamil Film Producers Council here Thursday when its president, actor Vishal Krishna, was detained by police for trying to forcibly enter its premises and reportedly attempting to break the lock put up by a rival faction. The rival faction of producers had locked up the premises on Wednesday, reportedly dissatisfied with the functioning of Vishal and his elected associates besides levelling allegations of irregularities, police said. The lock was finally opened by government authorities in the presence of a strong posse of policemen.
Meanwhile, a section of producers, led by ace director Bharathirajaa, met Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami on the matter and sought the government’s intervention to settle the dispute.
Bharathirajaa alleged “lack of transparency” in the existing Tamil Film Producers Council (TFPC) and that it was working from an “anonymous building” and therefore, had been locked up on Wednesday.
Veteran star Kamal Haasan said the charges against Vishal should be probed and expressed hope the latter had the heart to allow the same.
Meanwhile, Vishal and his supporters denied any wrongdoing on their part, with the popular actor saying he was ready to provide the accounts of expenses in the Council.
Visuals showed the actor-politician, who arrived at the TFPC office at T Nagar with his supporters, insisting on breaking the lock and entering the office, saying it was an “unauthorised” one.
Police officials were seen advising him to wait as some government officials were on their way to address the issue, or at least bring the original key and open the lock. An adamant Vishal was seen insisting on breaking open the lock. An argument ensued between him and the police personnel following which he was detained for alleged “unlawful assembly,” police said.
Vishal lashed out at the police and vowed to “fight back” and said the police action against him was “unbelievable”. “Police were mute yesterday wen unauthorised ppl locked the doors & gates of TFPC...,” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, Bharathirajaa said the Council’s General Council, a key body that discusses a number of issues, has not met for the last two years.
“There is no transparency in this Council. The TFPC is working from an anonymous building, so we locked it up. We met the chief minister since the government is the proper forum to take up such issues,” he told reporters.
Meanwhile, K Rajan, part of the group of producers which met the chief minister, said they were seeking answers for issues including financial accounts. Of the Rs 7.80 crore in the Council’s accounts, only Rs 50 lakh was remaining, he claimed, adding “we want answers for this”. He also wanted Vishal to quit. Responding to the charges, Vishal, who is also the general secretary of Nadigar Sangam (South India Artistes Association) said such charges should be backed by proof and reiterated that locking up of the TFPC office was an“unauthorised” act.
“Any allegation should be made with proof.... we are going to give accounts, we cannot avoid. We are responsible to inform every member... there are no irregularities at all,” the actor-producer told a Tamil TV channel.
He also questioned the rationale behind some of the producers meeting Palaniswami, saying the chief minister had other work to attend to. “What is the logic in meeting him to seek (my) ouster,” he said. Vishal said his camp would “do everything” to conduct a fundraiser for producers, where musician Ilayaraja will be honoured. The event had also faced opposition.
Meanwhile, Vishal’s supporter, director Praveen Gandhi, said his side had also preferred a police complaint regarding Wednesday’s incident. He said some persons were keen on bringing a bad name to Vishal and therefore, were resorting to such acts. He also denied any wrongdoing regarding the funds, saying Vishal was paid in crores for every film he acted.
Meanwhile, Information and Publicity Minister Kadambur Raju said the government had nothing to do with the incident, adding it was an internal issue of the TFPC.