Blast at Malayalam film shoot sparks fresh row



Idukki, Kerala: An explosion occurred early Monday at a film shoot near here damaging two vehicles, police said, triggering a war of words within the faction-ridden Malayalam film industry.

The blast took place at a hotel at Kuttikanam. The damaged vehicles belonged to the crew of the film "Atmakatha", which stars popular actor Sreenivasan and Bengali actress Sharbani Mukherjee.

Police recovered explosive materials, usually used in quarries, from the blast site, an official said.

The film industry has two umbrella groupings of technicians, representing 19 organisations of drivers to directors.

The two groupings are the Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA) and the Malayalam Cine Technicians Association (MACTA).

Director B. Unnikrishnan, general secretary of FEFKA, accused MACTA members of creating similar problems in the past and demanded that those behind the blast be punished.

FEFKA comprises all the big directors and has the support of the Association of Malayalam Movies Artistes (AMMA).

MACTA is led by popular director Vinayan, who has been having a running feud with the superstars and top directors.

"This blast has got nothing to do with MACTA... FEFKA always has the habit of blaming MACTA for anything and everything," Vinayan said.

Incidentally, the producer of "Atmakatha" was roughed up last month at the same location. The police are probing that case too.

The Kerala government has now stepped in and formed a committee to look into issues plaguing the Malayalam film industry.

The producers association is cut up with AMMA, which had reportedly failed to find a way to reduce production costs. Film artists later agreed to cut their remuneration by 25 percent.

IANS