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News Tamil

Former crew member seeks permission to stage dharna against Mani Ratnam

45-year-old Manimaran allegedly suffered from a blood-related infection and lost the use of both his legs in a stroke while he was employed by Ratnam ten years ago.

Manigandan KR

A lightman, named Manimaran, who worked on the sets of Mani Ratnam's Guru (2007) ten years ago has sought permission from the police to stage a dharna against the director demanding financial assistance.

The 45-year-old suffered from a blood-related infection and lost the use of both his legs in a stroke while he was employed by Ratnam. He has also made allegations against the Lightmen Union for not extending full support.

Talking to mediapersons after lodging a police complaint against the director at the police commissioner's office, Manimaran said, "I was a lightman who was registered with the Lightmen Union in the film industry. Ten years ago, I worked on the film Guru, featuring Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai [Bachchan] in the lead. Mani Ratnam was the director and I worked on the film when it was shot at Perambur in Chennai.

"I was working on the film when I came down with viral fever. I was admitted to a hospital where doctors told me that my treatment would cost me Rs2 lakh. A poor worker like me could not afford that sum. So, I went to Mani Ratnam's house to seek financial help. I couldn't even meet him. I then wrote letters to him, requesting help. I did not receive any help from him."

Manimaran was accompanied by his wife Sangeetha.

"The court ordered that I be granted a sum of Rs2 lakh through the Lightmen Union. The union demanded that I pay a sum of Rs20,000 to them before they grant me a cheque for Rs2 lakh. I borrowed money on high interest from lenders to pay them that money. Despite all this, I was granted only Rs1 lakh. I am yet to get another lakh from them. As I did not have any money to get proper treatment, I suffered a paralytic attack and as a result, lost the use of both my legs. Now, my wife is working as a housemaid to run the family," Manimaran added.

"Director Mani Ratnam must come forward to help me financially, both on a humanitarian basis, and also because I was working for him at the time I fell ill. I have now applied for permission to the police to sit on a dharna along with my family in Valluvar Kottam emphasising this demand," the lightman said.