Right-Wing Outfits Vandalise Church Replica on Malayalam Film Set

Some members of right-wing Hindu outfits claimed to have demolished the set built for shooting Minnal Murali.

Published
Indian Cinema
2 min read
The set of <i>Minnal Murali</i> being vandalised.
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On Monday, 25 May, the Perumbavoor Police in Kerala arrested Kara Ratheesh, who reportedly has links with a right-wing group, in connection to Sunday’s demolition of a church-shaped set erected for shooting a Malayalam movie, Minnal Murali, on the banks of the river Periyar at Kalady, according to a report by The Hindu. The set was reportedly worth Rs 50 lakh.

Ratheesh has been charged under IPC Sections 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion); 153 (wanton provocation with intent to cause riot); 143 (unlawful assembly); 147 (rioting); 454 (trespass to commit offence); 427 (causing damage) and 380 (theft).

Some members of right-wing Hindu outfits claimed to have demolished the set built for shooting Minnal Murali, directed by Basil Joseph and starring Tovino Thomas in the lead.

The incident came to light by one Hari Palode, general secretary of the right-wing outfit Antarrashtriya Hindu Parishad (AHP), who admitted on Facebook that his group along with Bajrang Dal members destroyed the set because it stood opposite the Shiv temple at Kalady. “When they were building the set we had objected. We had even submitted complaints. We don’t have a habit of pleading so we decided to demolish it. We have to protect our self-respect,” he wrote in his Facebook post, accompanied by photos of the said act. The post seems to have been taken down. The Hindu tried contacting Palode but he was unavailable for a comment.

Director Reacts

Basil Joseph took to Facebook to write a long post about how he is at a loss for words. “For some people, it could be a joke, troll, publicity or politics. For us it was a dream. The set was erected just before the lockdown. We had been working for two years to realise the movie. The art director and team struggled under the hot sun for many days to build the set, for which the hard-earned money of the producer was spent. It was built after getting all requisite permissions. The atrocity has happened at a time when everyone must stand united. I never expected this to happen in Kerala. I am shocked”, Joseph wrote.

CM Calls For Stern Action

At a press briefing, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan assured that the strongest action will be taken against the culprits. “We do not tolerate such incidents in Kerala. The film set was built in March but because of the COVID-19 outbreak, work got stalled. This is clearly aimed at provoking religious sentiments. Kerala is not a land where such communal forces can thrive. The government will take strong action”, Vijayan said.

Outrage from Industry

The incident sparked outrage from the film industry. Taking to Twitter, Tovino Thomas wrote, “It has caused us a lot of distress, and even more of anxiety. We have decided to go ahead with the legal proceedings”.

This is what director Aashiq Abu has to say:

(Inputs: The Hindu)

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