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MACTA to take a neutral stand

By Our Staff Reporter

KOCHI, MARCH. 4. In a shift from its earlier stand, the Malayalam Cine Technicians Association (MACTA) has decided to adopt a neutral stance in the row over the award nite and stage show being organised by a private Malayalam television channel in Kochi on Sunday.

The MACTA chairman, K.G. George, told presspersons after an executive meeting of the association that it would not forbid any of its members from either participating in the award nite or accepting awards at the function.

At the same time, he said, MACTA would not cooperate with the programme in its official capacity. The executive also decided not to cooperate officially with any plans to cripple the Malayalam film industry since such a move would result in its own members losing jobs. The organisation respected the personal freedom of its members, he said.

(The crisis in the film industry began with the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA) deciding to participate in the award nite and the Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce (which represents producers, exhibitors and distributors) accusing AMMA of retracting from an earlier agreement which had provisions against its members appearing in stage and television shows.)

The executive decided not to endorse any disciplinary action taken by other organisations without consulting MACTA. ``The association need not cooperate with any move to issue ban orders against anyone in a single-handed manner.'' In such situations, the organisation will offer all protection to the member concerned.

However, answering a question on the ban imposed by the Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce on the director, Priyadarsan, Mr. George said it was not easy to resist such actions since commercial interests were, after all, the ruling force in the industry. AMMA and MACTA are, in fact, organisations of employees in the film industry, he said.

It is learnt that the sudden shift in MACTA's stand results from the objection raised by a group within it against the strong stance it had so far taken on the issue. A group of directors are of the opinion that such a strong position would be against the interests of the organisation and those planning to make films with superstars in the immediate future. In their effort to avert any split in the organisation, some of MACTA's office-bearers, including the general secretary, Sibi Malayil, had succeeded in working out a consensus formula. With MACTA's new stance, the Film Chamber will find it difficult to take to its logical conclusion its move to stop all production activities from March 8. Mr. George said that MACTA could now take the initiative to draw up a new agreement between AMMA and the Film Chamber now that the existing one had already been violated.

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