One of the most powerful organisations in Kollywood is the actors' body Nadigar Sangam or South Indian Artistes Association. It is an association formed by late legend and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MGR, when the entire south Indian film industry was based in Madras (now Chennai).
On Sunday, 27 November, the current general secretary of Nadigar Sangam — Vishal — expelled former president Sarathkumar and general secretary Radha Ravi from the organisation. Last year, around this time, in a bitterly contested election, Sarathkumar and his team (who controlled Nadigar Sangam for nearly a decade) were routed by Vishal, Karthi and Nassar (their team was known as Pandavar Ani) in an election conducted under the supervision of the Madras High Court.
It was an action-packed Sunday afternoon as clashes occurred at the venue of the meeting between the rival factions. Actor Karunas' car (he's an office bearer of Nadigar Sangam) and an AIADMK MLA’s SUV were damaged in the stone throwing. Later, miscreants attacked Vishal’s office and also damaged his car.
Sarathkumar and Radha Ravi were barred from attending the meet and the current office bearers Vishal, Karthi and Nassar were demanding that the former be held accountable for corruption issues regarding properties owned by Nadigar Sangam. Vishal said, "We have expelled Sarathkumar and Radha Ravi from the association and with the unanimous approval of the general body. A police complaint will be lodged by the association against those who indulged in violence."
Karthi said, "Sarathkumar and Radha Ravi made amendments in 2008 to the association bylaws, enabling them to become lifetime trustees. Such an amendment leads to the question — who is in charge of the trust coffers after their terms have come to an end? We have cancelled the amendments. There is no legal basis to do this and it raises a big question mark over the properties owned by Nadigar Sangam."
Sarathkumar’s wife and actress Radikaa Sarathkumar hit back in a series of tweets against Karthi:
Vishal said at the meeting that Nadigar Sangam had obtained permission from the Registrar of Societies to hold the meeting, which was shifted from the Loyola College auditorium to their own grounds in T Nagar. He also said that Nadigar Sangam had collected funds worth Rs 8.50 crores in fixed deposits.
Meanwhile there is support for Sarathkumar from various actors including some superstars, who are not openly coming out in support of Vishal and the others. The younger lot of stars like Suriya, Sivakarthikeyan, Vijay Sethupathi and others support Vishal along with veterans Kamal Haasan and Vikram. More drama is expected in the coming days, as the battle to control Nadigar Sangam turns nasty.