Right after Mani Ratnam’s legal tussle with his distributors over the failure of Kadal, Gautham Menon has hit out at the film industry at large, sending a message that a director can’t be sued if his film fails to rake in the cash. In a strongly worded letter, a copy of which is available with Express, Menon says that he is hurt at having to wage a lone battle. It may be recalled that Menon’s former associate, producer Elred Kumar of RS Infotainment who has worked with him for the past 4 odd years (on films like Neethaane En Ponvasantham), had sued Menon on February 6.
With Elred Kumar allegedly gearing up for more legal action, the normally reticent Gautham Vasudev Menon, sent an open letter to the film fraternity, calling for unity and some help,“Though ideally there should be unions in an industry as big as ours to help me fight these un-wanted battles, I find myself alone.” Menon warned colleagues to be careful in dealing with producers who may sue them if their films didn’t succeed at the box office as per expectations. He also made a plaintive note with a fervent appeal to the industry to come to his aid, in the letter. He said, “Neethaane En Ponvasantham was made with passion. Just because it didn’t perform as well as Elred expected is not a good enough reason to send a director a legal notice.”
Though Kumar had apparently demanded the return of some money which had been paid as an advance to the director, the fact that he had sought an order restraining him from making any more films had been quashed by the court. “Elred has filed yet another suit, claiming approximately `9.5 crore and my house,” alleged Menon. Relations between the duo apparently soured after the failure of Neethaane En Ponvasantham (NEP), but Menon claims that the problem was much deeper. From the choice of hero to the music director to the budget of the film, everything was as issue, he said.
Other instances of actors or filmmakers returning money when their films have sunk at the box office are when Rajinikanth stepped up after the failure of Baba and Kuselan.