Do the star value and the technical department actually determine the popularity of a movie and the possibility of it landing in a controversy? To an extent, it seems true because it can be noted that the bigger the budget of the movie, the more are the controversies. The period such projects take to get completed and the money involved can also serve as catalysts to the problems. Mamankam is the latest to join the bandwagon. The movie, initially directed and scripted by Sajeev Pillai, is based on the medieval fair of the same name which was celebrated every 12 years from 800 AD to 1755 AD. Big names like Mammootty and Resul Pookutty being associated with the movie had already presented a larger-than-life picture about it.
The behind-the-scenes drama is keeping the Mammootty-starrer in the limelight these days.
Sajeev, who held a press meet on Saturday, says that he has fallen prey to the tricks of the producer of the film, Venu Kunnapilly, who is using his money and influence to push Sajeev out of the project. He had also filed a police complaint saying that he had been threatened by unknown people who had asked him to stay out of the project. However, the producer is of the opinion that they are replacing Sajeev with M. Padmakumar as the debutant is inexperienced. He says a mere 10-day test shoot left the crew complaining about working for long hours and taking unnecessary footage.
Commenting on this, Sajeev says, “I would like to inform everyone that I have the experience of over two decades in the film industry and I have also assisted M.T. Vasudevan Nair. So, the question of inexperience gets nullified then and there. Moreover, a legend like Mammootty can understand the calibre of a director by listening to his/her narration itself. He has been very supportive ever since he agreed to do my project. It is unfortunate that one person is creating all this fuss just because of the ego issues he has with me.”
On the clause in the contract which says that the producer has the right to change the director if he is not satisfied with the quality of the product, and the `3 lakh that Venu had paid him to acquire the rights of the script, Sajeev says that he will deal with them legally. “It is absurd to even think that the script of a movie worth Rs 30 crore will be given to the producer for just Rs 3 lakh,” he says. He adds, “The effort put in to make Mamankam cannot be calculated in terms of money. The trips I had to find the money needed for completing the script itself will cost more than Rs 3 lakh. Venu had clearly told me that he would give me Rs 20 lakh for directing the movie, Rs 3 lakh for the script and a percent of the profit share as well.”
Sajeev also adds that none of the associations in the industry helped him in solving the issues with the producer. However, commenting on the production team’s claim that the lead actor was kept in the loop, Sajeev says that Mommootty welcomed debutants becoming part of the movie and that a compromise talk was even held at the actor’s house. However, the producer was adamant that the script should be changed, he says....