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Durga  Director Sanal Sasidharan Has Quit  Films, Migrated To The US And Is Now A Sales Associate



Sanal Sasidharan

Malayalam director  Sanal Sasidharan  whose 2014  film S. Durga  created a  communal stir,  is now fighting to  release his farewell film Vazhakku which Sanal claims, the film’s leading man Thomas Tovino, is obstructing from release.

Tovino has  vehemently denied this, arguing logically, that it would be in his  interest to release  Vazhakku, as he is  a producer on the project.

When I  caught up with this fearless filmmaker in the US, he shocked me by saying he had given up filmmaking and the country. “ I  stopped making films some years ago. My last film was Vazhakku which is in the news  for all the wrong reasons right now.”

Why did Sanal make such a drastic decision? “Too many threats. If I had continued staying in Kerala  and  making films I would have probably lost my life. I was  being threatened from all the mediums possible. For the past few years I live in the US(city name being withheld). I am no longer a  filmmaker.  In fact I don’t know what  I am any longer.”

Sanal who made a powerful chilling film on sexual harassment  named  Durga , was himself  accused  of the same crime . “A false sexual harassment accusation was made  against me. In May  2022 I was arrested one morning. That’s when I decided to leave the  country. You will be  surprised to know  two years have passed, and no case has been registered against me . No legal procedure, nothing. It is very disturbing that I was  driven into a corner by  vested interested  in the Malayalam film industry.”

Who are these vested  interests?

Says Sanal, “There is  a   money-laundering machinery operating  in the Malayalam  film industry. Films claim to have been made at Rs 100 crores actually are made at no more than 15-20 crores. Who in the Malayalam industry has that  kind of  money? The money laundering  racket is supported by  powerful  politicians,so no one asks questions. I did. And  look at where  I  have landed.”

Sanal also claims there is an “active sex racket” in the Malayalam film industry.

“I am paying  a price for  talking about these issues that the Malayalam film industry doesn’t want to  address,” says Sanal.

His last film Vazhakku is stuck and he blames his leading man  for it. “Tovino Thomas feels it will harm his career . If he  felt this way, why did he do  this film with me?I guess superstars  have their own satellites. These  actors are ill-advised. The  Malayalam film industry is  like  an  underworld. It creates its own heroes.”

 Sanal  is  all alone  in US with no family(he got divorced some years ago and  his children  live with their mother)  and friends.  “But I am fine. I  am enjoying my solitude. I like my own company.”

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