Kochi, July 24 (IANS) The IT raids on Malayalam filmdom’s two reigning superstars Mammootty and Mohanlal could deal a blow to the former’s Rajya Sabha hopes and cast a shadow on the latter’s honorary commission of Lt. Colonel in the Territorial Army (TA).
The first salvo has been fired by eminent orator and social critic Sukumar Azhikode who has called for the immediate attention of Defence Minister A.K. Antony to see that Mohanlal’s honorary commission be withdrawn because “people who occupy pride of place in the minds of people should remain clean in all aspects”.
For Mammootty, who was all set to be nominated to the Rajya Sabha, the large seizure of cash from his home and other documents could deal a fatal blow to his aspiration to enter the Rajya Sabha. He is known to have close relations at the highest level across political parties.
Even though Mammootty is chairman of the CPI-M backed TV channel Kairali since its inception in the late 1990a, he maintains excellent relations with Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy as well as the Indian Union Muslim League.
For the two superstars, who have been at the helm of affairs for the past quarter of a century, things went for a toss Friday morning when raids were conducted by Income Tax officials on them and their business associates across four southern cities at 20 different locations.
While Mammootty air dashed from Chennai to here to depose before the IT sleuths, Mohanlal is expected to appear before them Monday.
Speaking to IANS on condition of anonymity, a top producer in the industry, said that it is sad that this has happened to them “but the positive is that it is going to start a churning process in the Malayalam film industry”.
“What is common to both these superstars and one of the main reasons why this happened is because there is a group around both of them who run the show. Because of this and their production and distribution house, it is very difficult for new talent to enter the film industry,” said the producer.
With the raids it has now surfaced that the fees charged by the two is close to Rs.15 million per film, which according to a film actor is enough money to make an average film with second-rung actors.
“Just look into the case of Antony Peruvamboor (the erstwhile driver of Mohanlal and whose office was raided last week by the IT sleuths). Do you know he has produced more than a dozen films of the superstar in the past one decade,” said the film personality who did not wish to be identified.
The coming days appear to be crucial for these superstars as both are going to be questioned by the IT sleuths again. People are wondering if more ‘skeletons’ will tumble out from their unopened “lockers”.