Kerala TV artistes riled by government chief whip’s comments

Thiruvananthapuram, June 1 (IANS) The Association of Television Media Artistes (ATMA), comprising TV serial artistes of Kerala, has hit back at the “cheap people” remark of government chief whip P.C. George by deciding not to act with him.

George, a six-time legislator and vice chairman of the Kerala Congress (Mani), the third-largest ally of the ruling Congress-led United Democratic Front, was shooting in the capital city recently for TV serial “Kasthuriman,” directed by Sujith Sundar.

ATMA has said that if the makers of the serial needed the cooperation of artistes from the association, George should be dropped from the cast, and scenes that have already been filmed in which he features should be dropped.

ATMA president Edavela Babu told IANS that the decision was taken after George publicly referred to those in the film industry as “cheap people”.

“Since we do not share his high standards, and do not have the fine genes that he comes with, we decided to keep away from him and not share screen space with him,” said Babu, who also serves as the secretary of the powerful Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA).

Last week, George was heard saying that ace director Priyadarshan was a “cheap” film personality.

ATMA, incidentally, is chaired by film actor-turned-politician K.B. Ganesh Kumar, who was recently forced to quit as state minister for forests and cinema.

Kumar and George have been at daggers drawn.

George had claimed in public that Kumar had been beaten up by his lover’s husband. That led to a series of events, and Kumar ultimately resigned from the state cabinet last month after his wife took a complaint of domestic violence against him to Chief Minister to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

George told IANS that his role in the TV serial was a mere 15-minute one. He said he had told the director that he was withdrawing from the acting assignment, as he could not spare time for it.

“ATMA may come to know that I had withdrawn before they came out with this statement. Please understand: I don’t have to eke out a living by donning the grease paint. I have acted in two films. You do not know the pressure that I am put under by various producers and directors to act in their films and TV serials. Whenever I donned the grease paint, I did it for free,” George told IANS.

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