Well every thing started with the 11th International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA) held in Colombo from June 3 to 5th 2010. In a way it was an Ill conceived – white elephant project that failed drastically to give the desired result as the sponsors had no deep knowledge about Bollywood or Indian politics.
It was said Sri Lanka was supposed to spend a staggering US$9 million anticipating a return of bumper US$ 126 million. I am not sure of this figure. May be they could have aimed for some thing like New York Lottery Jackpot.
A weekend paper on last Sunday said in her editorial that hotel bills to the tune of millions remain unpaid by the Government to date. No accounts have been given by the Tourist authorities.
It was Chennai that initiated the boycott having the pro LTTE elements in the front. The tiger segment’s voice against the participation of Tamil filmdom made the Kollywood – Tamilnadu film world to pass a resolution objecting the presence of Tamil stars in the Show. It prompted popular figures like Rajnikanth, Kamal Hassan, Vijay, Ajith and Surya refusing to be associated in any way with IIFA.
Interestingly ‘Raavan’ a loose adaptation of the epic Ramayana, starred Aishwarya , Abishek Bachchan and Vikram that was to be screened at the IIFA 2010 was pulled back by the producer Mani Ratnam saying that he has decided to stay away from IIFA Colombo because his movie ‘Raavan’ was still not complete and they were working on the background score.
Megastar Amitabh Bachchan also faced problem. A group staged a protest march from Bachchan’s ‘Pratiksha’ bungalow to his ‘Jalsa’ residence in Mumbai.They warned to stage a hunger strike unto death if Amitabh agreed to to go to Sri Lanka. Finally Amithab family made no Show. So as Sharuk Khan too. His absence was due to a bomb throw in his previous Show in Colombo where he wowed not to come again.
One amusing news I wish to share with readers here though it is not relevant to the topic. Once I was in the Sri Lankan Airlines’ office in the World Trade Center. A female staff got a telephone call that Sharuk Khan was coming there for ticketing. She immediately passed the message to others and all of a sudden the entire atmosphere in the airline was changed.
Girls started giving make up touch to their faces. The message was unbelievable to me. Why should he come to ticket counter? There was no news of he being in Lanka too. After few minutes another call said, yes Sharuk Khan was coming, not the actor. What a disappointment for the birds. In Lanka the tendency is hearing is believing.
Let me get back. Then agitation two was staged. Here the sinner was Keralite Asin Thottumkal of Tamil, Hindi movies. Asin means pure in Sanskrit. She was the heroine against Salman Khan’s ‘Ready’ that was to be shot in Sri Lanka partly.
Tamilnadu mounted huge protest against her visit and demanded excommunication if she failed to oblige. She was perplexed. A film with Vijay “Kaavalan” was to be released and her career in Tamilnadu was at stake. She explained to the Film Chamber that as per her contract she had to go to where the producer wanted or face court case.
Of course Chennaiwalaas know all these legal matter sc but did not relent. She visited. “Kaavalan” found no takers. It faced many problems and finally came out on 15th January 2011. Asin became untouchable in Kollywood since then. Recently a producer tried to contract her against Vijay. But objection was created and he dropped her.
Is it correct? It is arguable. The Tamilnadu Film Association forbids Tamil artists visiting Sri Lanka. But they allow the same artists to visit in the form of celluloid. How funny?
I am not talking politics here. If the Tamil film world wants to delink its connection with Sri Lanka over an issue, first thing they should do is to stop the exports of Tamil movies to Sri Lanka. Will they do? No never they will. It will affect their income. Indian film exports to South Africa was banned when the country was under apartheid.
Nowadays pro Eelamists seem to object any thing and every thing against Sri Lanka. There was a news item last week, they objected to Tamilnadu’s Tamil scholars’ participation in the poet Bharathiyar Celebration. Has this got any thing to do with Sri Lanka government? No. This was a pure Tamil event. For the Tamils, by the Tamils and of the Tamils.
Further, Colombo- Tuticorin ferry service that was started last June with a fan fare and capsized now, was vehemently opposed by these groups as a token of protest to the SLGO and solidarity with Lankan Tamils. I do not understand where the solidarity is? Ninety five per cent of the travelers were Tamil speaking from both the coasts.
Lankan refugees in Tamilnadu camps too started using this service to return. Honorable vociferous chief minister of Tamilnadu failed to realize, that the major beneficiary would be her state and the port city in particular would develop in many ways without her fund. People are still craving for the ferry service.
Nearly five India’s airlines fly between Sri Lanka and India daily. Can they stop them flying? Many small cargo boats ply from Tuticorin to Colombo every day. Can they stop these vessels?
The dirtiest thing was to attack a person who comes to worship God. A Hindu has all the rights to visit a Hindu temple in any part of the world whether it is in Rameswaram or Rawalpindi or Angor or Ayothiya.
Saudi Arabia is the custodian of holy Makkah. Their friction with Iran is well known. But they do not stop Iranian pilgrimages even though at times Iranians create tension.
The Tamil culture is to welcome even if the enemy steps into one’s house. Nadesan is not a blood relation of the Rajapakshas. Picking a woman of his choice is his right. He did not come to visit any VIPs but God. Under what Indian penal code act number he was prevented or other VIPs are forced to return, while both countries maintain a diplomatic relation?
Lankan issue has been a source of sustenance for bankrupt politicians who pay least attention to the Lankan refugees or for that matter of their own local issues. Those who are holding party flags and insulting Lankan visitors, do not realize that they are insulting their own Tamil culture.
(This article was written exclusively for www.dbsjeyaraj.com)