News Tamil

Nadigar Sangam fund-raiser draws flak, trustee S Ve Shekher resigns

A Malaysian Tamil daily put out a report suggesting the film stars had gone to the country with a begging bowl.

S Ve Shekhar

Manigandan KR

The South Indian Artistes Association (SIAA), also known as the Nadigar Sangam, has come in for flak for the manner in which it conducted the recent Natchathira Vizha (Star Night), an event attended by over 300 celebrities from the Tamil film industry, including Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, in Malaysia.

The event, held to raise funds for building an office for the Nadigar Sangam in Chennai, became the topic of discussion after a Malaysian Tamil daily put out a report on the event suggesting that the stars had gone to the Southeast Asian country with a begging bowl.

Following this, S Ve Shekher, veteran actor and one of the trustees of the SIAA, announced that he had sent in his resignation to Nassar, president of the association.

In his resignation letter, which is in Tamil and a copy of which is available with, S Ve Shekher cited many reasons for his decision to part ways with the SIAA. One of the important ones pertains to the manner in which the event in Malaysia was held.

Shekher said, “You appointed me as a trustee to the Nadigar Sangam after winning the elections to the SIAA, saying you needed my advice, suggestions and guidance. However, there have been a lot of changes in one year. When it reached a stage where I was being considered a trustee only when my signature was required on documents, I sent you several mails and yet received no answers from you....

"There were several goof-ups at the recently held event in Malaysia. I have learnt that several artistes were treated disrespectfully on this trip. In particular, the president of the Directors’ Union, Vikraman, directors R Sundarrajan, Parthiban and actor Manoj, son of veteran director Bharathiraja, were insulted.“

The actor, who is also a playwright and director, lashed out at the Nadigar Sangam office-bearers: “This is what is called mismanagement. Why did we have to waste the trust’s funds on booking rooms in Park hotel for discussions if something was going to be done in such an inefficient and half-baked manner?

"There is nothing wrong in treating stars like Rajini and Kamal Haasan with respect. But the same respect should have been accorded to other veterans present on the occasion. Please learn how to give respect from our former president Vijayakanth. But there is no way you are going to change.“

The actor went on to point out the report by the Malaysian Tamil daily. “Have you not seen this report?" he wrote. "Will we, who earn so much through the Malaysian Tamils, suffer loss of stature if we were to make a donation of Rs1 crore for the education of the children of poor Malaysian Tamils? Money is important, but I cannot accept that it has to be earned at the cost of one’s self-respect....

"As I cannot go against my conscience and with the mistakes of the Sangam, as the post of trustee is just an ornamental post, and to protest against the disrespectful treatment meted out to my fellow actors, I hereby resign from the position of trustee that you have given me,” he said in the letter, which has raised a storm in Tamil cinema.