Nepotism, graft charges land Kerala TV awards in soup

Complaints were made against the State Television Awards 2022, announced on March 6. The case is expected to come up before the High Court for hearing next week.
Image used for representation
Image used for representation

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Raising major allegations of corruption and nepotism in the State Television Awards, former secretary of the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy Mahesh Panju and senior filmmaker Sasi Kumar Ambalathara have moved the High Court against the Chalachitra Academy.

Complaints were made against the State Television Awards 2022, announced on March 6. The case is expected to come up before the High Court for hearing next week. The petition was filed on April 12 against the academy, academy secretary, award jury chairman, other members and the recipients of the award in dispute.

The petitioners sought intervention from the High Court to reevaluate the awards given to various categories including general documentary, biographical documentary, scientific-environmental documentary and best director categories. The petitioners have urged the court to stay the awards until the case is settled. Former secretary Mahesh Panju alleged irregularities and violation of the existing regulations in the process.

“As per norms, the general category award for best screenplay should be given for a work that is related to Kerala. However, the documentary titled ‘Lost in Transit’ about the indigenous people displaced in the 1920s from the Andaman Islands was given the award. There is no connection to Kerala,” alleged Mahesh Panju.

Filmmaker Sasi Kumar Ambalathara said that his documentary film -Give Me a Little Land .. A loving Shore for the Sea Turtles- was also unfairly ignored by the jury.

“I have been in the industry for the past 30 years and this documentary is a very special work which I submitted for the environmental category. I worked day and night for weeks to come up with such a work that focuses on the Olive Ridley turtles. I had many exclusive visuals of the turtles coming to the shore and laying eggs. But they just ignored my work and gave the award to some documentary on waste management,” said Sasi Kumar.

Responding to the allegations, Kerala State Chalachitra Academy secretary Ajoy Chandran said the matter is in the court and the academy’s standing counsel is looking into the legal matters. He refused to further comment on the issue.

“The case was filed around a month ago and our standing counsel is looking into the matters at the court,” he said.

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