The Southern film industry is known for its fanatical admiration for actors. After the National Award declaration on Friday, hero worship has touched a new low with fans of legendary actor Mammootty going up in arms over his exclusion from the list of awardees. It was Rahul Rawail, the head of the jury, who had to bear the brunt after he started receiving the ugliest hate mail from Mammootty fans from Kerala, asking why their idol was not considered for the National award.
The actor’s performance in Tamil film Peranbu as the single father of a spastic teenage girl was widely expected to earn him a national recognition, which, if received would have been his fourth National Award. A source from Rawail’s jury says, “Rahul has been subjected to the vilest attack from Mammootty’s fans. They have been threatening to cause harm his family, making nasty comments about his father (the late and much-revered filmmaker H.S. Rawail) and saying ugly things about his children… Rahul is very disturbed.”
The source further adds that Mammootty’s fans’ zeal is quite misplaced. “They wanted Mammootty to get the National Award for best actor for Peranbu. But that film wasn’t even in consideration for our jury. It was rejected at the regional-level itself. So where is the question of giving him the National award to a film the jury didn’t even see,” he asks.
Mammootty has apologised to Rahul for his fans’ behaviour. He also says that whatever happened was without his knowledge. Rahul has posted on Facebook Mammootty’s response, which reads, “Sorry sir. I have no knowledge about it. Still I apologise for what had happened.”