THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It’s payback time now. Coming under severe criticism for his disastrous show Lalisom at the National Games inaugural ceremony, actor Mohanlal, as announced earlier, paid back Rs 1.63 crore - the amount he took for the show - to the government exchequer.
However, a determined Chief Minister on Wednesday made it categorically clear that the government will not accept the money and expressed regret over dragging the actor into such a controversy. The actor has informed the state treasury - from where the amount was paid to him that he would e-transfer Rs 1.63 crore back to the treasury.
Speaking to ‘Express’, Sports Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan confirmed that the actor has indeed informed the government that the money is being paid to the state treasury’s Head of Account.
“The actor has informed the government that the money would be electronically transferred to the state treasury. But we have decided not to take the same and pay it back. Now the amount will go back to the one who paid,’’ Thiruvanchoor said. Though the actor announced on Monday that he would pay back the money, many prominent leaders have come out asking the government not to take the same.
Hence, the decision was put on hold for the Chief Minister to take the final call. On Wednesday, the government decided not to take the money as it was paid for a programme to be staged as per an agreement.
At the post-Cabinet media briefing, the Chief Minister expressed regret over dragging the actor into the controversy. “The actor was approached as another programme proposed earlier was kept aside due to high cost. I spoke to Mohanlal directly. That time itself he raised concerns as there was limited time for preparation and rehearsals. However, he agreed to stage his performance at the function,’’ the Chief Minister said.
He added that the government would not take back the money as it was given as per the agreement with the actor.
“It was the amount spent for the show. Based on the contract, the event was conducted for an agreed amount. It was money spent for the programme. Not taken by him. The government has no moral right to take back the money already paid,’’ the Chief Minister added. He pointed out that there was time shortage for the actor to prepare for the show prior to the event.
However, the remarks by the Sports Minister and Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson on Tuesday that Lalisom was the only failed event at the inaugural ceremony prompted the actor to stick to his stand, sources said.
VS: Minister Must Follow Lal’s model
T’Puram: Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan has urged the Sports Minister and the Games CEO to follow the model set by actor Mohanlal and pay back the money unnecessarily spent for the National Games. He pointed out that Rs 70 lakh was spent for creating the theme song for the games.
Mammootty Throws Weight Behind Beleaguered Mohanlal
Kochi: Expressing his support to Mohanlal in the recent ‘Lalisom’ controversy, actor Mammootty on Wednesday urged the public not to drag the actor’s name into the controversies. Addressing media in Tripunithura, Mammootty said that the media as well as the public should show the magnanimity to see the good side of the deed, that Lal undertook with utmost sincerity. “We used to respect Mohanlal as an actor and true to that recognition, he has proved his worth by portraying various characters to perfection. And remember, an artist is discharging his duties by overcoming various conflicts. So spare him of the controversies so that it will alleviate his mental anguish,” added Mammootty. He also said that the controversies will take the sheen out of the National Games and will dampen the spirit of the grand event that the State is hosting. “I would like to extend my support to Mohanlal as his true friend, colleague and artist,” Mammootty added. However, the actor refused to comment on any other questions put forth by the reporters during the press meet.