Hindutva goons vandalise film set in Kerala; actor slams religious fanatics

Minnal Murali, a super-hero movie directed by Basil Joseph, has Tovino Thomas playing the lead role with newcomer Femina. The producer of the movie is Sophie Paul. The incident has shocked all of them

The damaged set of the film
The damaged set of the film
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Ashlin Mathew

On a day when Kerala was celebrating Eid, goons of a right-wing Hindu organisation demolished a set erected for the shoot of a Malayalam film Minnal Murali near Ernakulam on Sunday. The film set included a church and the goons were irked that the set was constructed near the mutt of Adi Shankaracharya in Kalady, on the banks of river Periyar. A case has been registered and the investigations are on.

The general secretary of Antharashtra Hindu Parishad (AHP) Hari Palode wrote on Facebook with pride that they decided to demolish the film set, which included a church, because it was constructed near the mutt. “We had warned the people constructing the set that they shouldn’t be doing so here. We had sent a complaint letter too. We are not in the habit of pleading or begging. We have to protect our Hindu pride. We thank the members of Rashtriya Bajrang Dal, who under the able leadership of Ernakulam division president Malayatoor Ratheesh, helped us bring down the set. May Mahadev’s blessings be with you”, wrote Palode on his Facebook page.

Hindutva goons vandalise film set in Kerala; actor slams religious fanatics

AHP is led by Praveen Togadia, who formerly headed Vishwa Hindu Parishad and has now broken away from it due to differences with Narendra Modi.

The set built on the sandy banks of river Periyar includes a church and a bell-tower. “The island has a small temple where Maha Shivaratri celebrations are held every year. On the opposite banks of the river is the famous Adi Sankaracharya mutt. However, we had got official permission from the local temple, the panchayat as well as the irrigation department in order to erect the temporary set,” said the director of the film Basil Joseph to The NewsMinute.

When people began to protest, Palode said that the filmmakers constructed the film set without permission from the Panchayat. This has been contradicted by the Kalady Panchayat committee member itself. “In February, the filmmakers had submitted a letter requesting permission to begin construction. We had given them permission. All of this was before the lockdown,” said Mini Biju, a Panchayat committee member.

Minnal Murali, a super-hero movie directed by Basil Joseph, has actor Tovino Thomas playing the lead role with newcomer Femina. The producer of the movie is Sophie Paul. This incident has shocked all of them.

Taking to social media, Tovino Thomas wrote that the first schedule of Minnal Murali was in progress when the construction of the set at Kalady began as it was for the second schedule. “It was carried out by art director Manu Jagad and team, under special instructions by stunt choreographer Vlad Rimburg. For this, we had the rightful permissions from the concerned authorities. And as we were about to start shooting in this set – which was built on a considerable cost, the whole country went into lockdown, following which our shoot was paused, just like all others,” stated Tovino.


“It is during this prevailing uncertainty that this contractual set was destroyed by a group of racialists yesterday. The reasons they cite for this unceremonious act are not understood to our senses till now. We’ve heard of movie sets being vandalised by religious fanatics in Northern parts of India. Now, it’s happening to us right here. It has caused us a lot of distress, and even more of anxiety. We have decided to go ahead with the legal proceedings,” underscored Tovino.

Elaborating upon the time involved in creating the set, the producer Sophie Paul decried, “Minnal Murali is an ambitious super-hero project which is under production and we have filmed almost a major portion of the film. The film required almost two years of pre production and planning owing to the scope and scale of the film. The set at Kalady was planned and built for one of our most important scenes. All required permissions to build the set at the location was taken. Today’s incident is so unfortunate and a colossal loss.”

Minnal Murali director Basil Joseph and producers have already filed a complaint with the police. “A case has been filed and the investigations are on. The perpetrators will be found and arrested. A special team has been formed,” said K Bijumon, the Perumbavoor Deputy Superintendent.

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