In what was a telling blow to the bigwigs who seem to control Mollywood, two of the most powerful organisations in the Malayalam film industry were fined by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for issuing an unofficial ban on director Vinayan.

 

The CCI on Friday asked prominent organisations Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA), Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA) and two of its subsidiary bodies to pay a penalty of Rs 11.25 lakh, after finding them guilty of adopting the unfair business practices. The order came after the Director General investigated a complaint that Vinayan had filed with the CCI. In his complaint the director had alleged that AMMA and FEFKA imposed an unofficial ban on him by allegedly asking actors and technicians in the industry not to associate with him. 

 

Vinayan has been fighting a lone battle against the bigwigs of Mollywood for the last eight years, with little to no support from the industry. The ban against him was found to be purely based on organisational rivalry. Even debutants who had signed up to work with him were threatened, leading to several films being delayed or even shelved.

 

Depositions by several actors and technicians, including Jayasurya and thespian Madhu, that they received phone calls from top dogs at AMMA and FEFKA to pull out of Vinayan’s films were crucial to the ruling.

 

What it brings to light is the rot in the Malayalam movie industry and the nexus within it. One of the most powerful and growing film industries in India, Mollywood is dominated by a few powerful lobbies. AMMA and FEFKA back each other and support mutual interests. If anyone takes on AMMA, he/she will find enemies at FEFKA, and vice versa. Anyone who decides to challenge their decisions will be out of work.

 

The late Thilakan was one of the actors ostracised by the industry for choosing to work with Vinayan. The veteran had refused to bow down to AMMA's whims and fancies and even tried to fight it but did not find much support at the time, even from the government. Vinayan’s win today is also justice for Thilakan.

 

However, whether the CCI order will make a difference on how actors and technicians respond to Vinayan from now on still remains to be seen. With the likes of Innocent, Edavela Babu, Sibi Malayail and B Unnikrishnan fined, the order might even increase the animosity towards Vinayan, if anything. The superstars might still refuse to work with him and production houses and distributors could stay away from him, citing personal reasons. But from an industry point of view, this David versus Goliath battle was indeed a landmark for Mollywood.