'Chekka Chivantha Vaanam': Mani Ratnam’s crew litters Kovalam Beach with glass; Madras Talkies denies claim

The glass shards and metal shells that the crew had left behind on the beachfront after finishing shoots on April 24 is litter around the sands between the backwaters and the Kovalam beach.

Published: 29th April 2018 07:21 PM  |   Last Updated: 30th April 2018 11:40 AM   |  A+A-

One of the volunteers cut his hand while picking up the glass shards left behind by the film crew at Kovalam Basin. (Photo | Special arrangement)

Express News Service

CHENNAI:  An action sequence recently shot along the Kovalam Beach for Mani Ratnam's upcoming movie - Chekka Chivantha Vaanam - may not have injured any of the actors. But, it is definitely harming the beach and the marine life that thrives between the Kovalam backwaters and the beach.

The glass shards and metal shells that the crew had left behind on the beachfront after finishing shoots on April 24 is littered around the sands between the backwaters and the Kovalam beach. Besides being a hot spot for sea surfers, the area is also home to a good number of marine life, especially crabs.

Showkath Jamal, a lawyer who runs the Bay of Life Surf School, and his wife Madhu were shocked when they visited the beach on the morning of April 25. “This is unacceptable.. Film crews should ensure they don't litter especially on a beach and clean-up the area after they are done,” Kamal said.

The school halted surfing and launched a three-day clean-up operation with volunteers from the surf school and locals. Despite the best efforts of the surfing school, Express visited the site on Sunday, and still, some pieces of glass buried under in the sand were found. “These smaller pieces are hard to spot but they can easily pierce your feet. Getting it out might even require surgical intervention” said Deepika, a volunteer sifting through the sand near the basin.

At least three volunteers involved in the clean-up operations have cut their fingers and toes while sifting through the sand for glass shards. “While it ruins the overall aesthetic of the beach and poses a threat to humans, it affects marine life like crabs which live on the sand,” said Showkath Jamal.

He said after repeated attempts, Madras Talkies, the production house of Mani Ratnam, responded and said they would arrange for a clean-up. But they haven't specified dates as to when it would take place.

Responding to the controversy, Madras Talkies Executive Producer Siva Ananth told Express that their unit had cleaned the beach after the shooting, but they were not responsible for the litter present prior to the shooting. Claiming that their unit members had always ensured the shooting spot is " reset to the pre-shoot conditions", Siva Anatha said, "Similarly, Kovalam was also cleaned up after our shoot. We had about 20 men cleaning up the place of our trash after we packed up."

"Once we cleaned up our trash and left, we can't be blamed for the pre-existing condition of the place; the fact that the place was littered with trash and broken glass anyway before our shoot is not our responsibility," he said.

Not the first time.

However, this is not the first time the surfers have had to pick up after a film crew. Showkath alleges that the crew of an AR Murugadoss film had littered the Beachfront with plastic and props. “Parts of a wooden ship was abandoned by the crew. We had to reel it in and dispose it,” Showkath said

Interestingly, locals in the Kovalam Fishing hamlet are turning a blind eye to the littering.

“Those parts of the beach are deserted so it isn't a big issue,” said K Jayaprakash, a local leader.

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