Aha Tamil’s latest outing, Pothanur Thabal Nilayam, has been receiving a mixed bag of responses from many quarters. While some are impressed with the scale and recreation of a bygone era, others have been critical of some writing and casting choices. Although the film continues to have decent word-of-mouth, the makers ran into hot water after a social media post about discrimination faced by an erstwhile part of the crew went viral.
Art director Sathish alleged that he didn’t receive credits for the work he did in the film, and he was unceremoniously ousted after an argument with director-actor-producer Praveen over the placement of a Dr BR Ambedkar portrait in the titular post office. He claimed that when he saw the portrait being thrown aside, he had an argument with Praveen, which later pushed the former to leave the project.
However, Praveen refuted any such claims, and said, “These allegations that have no proof have left me in deep depression. In 2015, I started the Pre-production works of this movie, during which, Sathish approached me with an earnest desire to work as an art director. He obtained an advance amount of Rs. 1 Lac in January 2015 and promised of erecting substantial set works at an affordable budget. After a few months, the first phase of erecting a huge post office set work commenced.”
Expressing his displeasure about the quality of work from the art director, Praveen said that the arguments between him and Sathish stemmed from monetary issues and a lack of quality deliverables. “He left the project, even without completing 25 percent of the set work he promised, and didn’t return my money. I tried reaching him several times over the phone, which was completely useless. Later, my team and I worked a lot in continuing to erect the set works and completed shooting the entire portions in that backdrop as planned.”
Praveen alleges that Sathish returned to the set sometime later to apologise for his insincerity, and asked for some more advance money to finish the next set of works in the optimum quality. Not wanting to be “victimised again” Praveen had asked Sathish to leave the sets and never return to the shooting spot. The filmmaker expresses his surprise that Sathish, who was not in touch with him for the past 5-6 years, has suddenly taken ownership of a work that was done by the team of Pothanur Thabal Nilayam. In addition, Praveen vehemently denies any claims about him disrespecting Dr. Ambedkar.
“I always believe all human beings are equal. Everyone around me is very well aware of this nature of mine. As such I have never disrespected the portrait of Dr. Ambedkar in any way. He is doing all this for the sake of grabbing the media attention and public glare,” signed off Praveen.