While the case has now become an ego issue for the actor, for the chairperson it is an issue of conscience. Both of them are right in their own terms, says Lokakeralam Desk

He has essayed some good samaritan’s roles without feudal shades. Some of the characters were real revolutionaries who held red flags and professed Communist Manifesto. Over a period of time those roles went into oblivion and in their place came the feudal characters who twirled moustaches and subdued women. The actor’s name is Mohanlal, Kerala’s superstar. He was the cynosure of the Malayali film goers at one point. By the new millennium he revealed his allegiance without any doubt; he turned retrogressive by professing his unflinching faith in Mata Amritanandamayi, a self-proclaimed goddess. He oscillated between feudal characters in his movies and right wing politics in real life. Of late he was tipped to be the BJP candidate for the Lok Sabha elections from the Thiruvananthapuram constituency where he has his home, solid fan base and appropriate caste support. But Mohanlal has been always an intelligent business man and a ‘complete’ actor; he refused to enter into the political fray.

Mohanlal has been a victim of trolling ever since the right wing political outfit expressed its intention to field him in the parliament elections. Sooner than later the actor revealed his own sentiments regarding politics; he remains an actor. However, Mohanlal is now in a row with the newly turned CPM leader Ms.Sobhana George who is the chairperson of the Kerala Khadi Board. The actor had modeled for a private cloth mill with a spinning wheel/charkha, a Gandhian emblem which Ms.George claims to be the Khadi Board’s patent symbol. She filed a petition against Mohanlal asking him to withdraw the potent symbol from the advertisement. According to her, the superstar’s endorsement of a private venture has put the Khadi industry in Kerala in the dock. Many women, according Ms.George in the sector are now jobless thanks to the falling demand for Khadi cloths.

Ms.George may be right from her position and perspective. But the complete actor is not ready to recognize those sentiments. He has now initiated a defamation suit of Rs.50 crore against the Khadi Board. While Mohanlal says that before he was served with a court notice the former Congress leader turned CPM member has gone public regarding the issue. Ms.George has again put her case before the court of public conscience. She pleads that she or her institution does not have such an amount to pay the damages and the actor should be more lenient.

While the case has now become an ego issue for the actor, for the chairperson it is an issue of conscience. Both of them are right in their own terms. Unlike the Tamil mega stars like Rajnikant and Kamal Haasan who refuse to appear in advertisements Malayalam super men are easy with the advertising ethics. Charkha, though is a universal Gandhian symbol is not legally patented in India so far. Hence, Ms.George cannot insist that the actor should remove Charkha from his advertisement for a private cloth mill. What maximum the actor could do is to approach the issue with compassion.

The issue has become public and taken an ugly turn only because it has political implications. Mohanlal is supposedly a BJP supporter, a Padmabhooshan awardee having friendly ties with the Prime Minister, and the left parties want to keep his influence among the film going Malayalis under check through this demoralizing act. Ms.George also must be having political ambitions within the left outfit as she is a new entrant and has been facing strong opposition from the traditional party workers. The faceoff is seen more like a charade than a real politico-cultural issue. The outcome of this charade is awaited and most probably it will be a truce.