Party leaders have argued with Joju George across the Malayalam film industry, saying they will not allow filming that leads to a roadblock.
The Youth Congress (YC) in Kerala is apparently putting on a sad face as its “all-out war on actor Joju George” becomes counterproductive day by day. The youth wing of the Congress party has pointed its guns at the Malayalam actor who opposed their road blockade against fuel increases. Party workers halted filming schedules for films on the ground which, shot in public places, obstructed traffic, apparently in response to Joju George’s objection to their protest on the Kochi-Thiruvananthapuram road about 10 days.
Although the Chairman of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) and the Leader of the Opposition in the House have said they are against targeting the film industry, members of the Youth Congress do not seem in the mood to listen. .
The “fight” between Joju George, a prominent Malayalam actor, and the workers of the Youth Congress began when the former questioned the road blockade organized by the party on the busy Edappally-Vytilla highway, in the outskirts of Kochi on November 1. Joju George, who was driving on the highway at the time, got stuck in traffic. Angered by the interminable wait, the actor got out of his vehicle and confronted the demonstrators. The enraged protesters, in turn, vandalized his car. News channels recorded the argument as well as the attack on the actor’s car.
A total of 12 members of Congress were slapped in the face for offenses without bail for damaging George’s Land Rover Defender SUV. In their defense, the Youth Congress protesters argued that Joju was drunk. A medical examination of the actor confirmed that he was not. Thus, no complaint was filed against Joju, whose complaint led to the arrest of six congressional leaders, including Tony Chammini, the former mayor of Kochi.
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This incident sparked a series of protests against Joju George with marches even going to the actor’s house. The protesters led the “fight” against the entire Malayalam film industry. The YC said it would not allow film shoots in public places if they “create an obstacle to the freedom of movement of people.”
The Youth Congress also held a protest outside a movie theater in Ernakulam where George’s new film, ‘Star’, was screened. On Sunday November 7, a group of Youth Congress activists marched to the scene of the “Kaduva” shooting at Mundakkayam in Kottayam and attempted to stop the shooting. Senior party leaders intervened and fired the protesters, but a few refused to return. The next day, another team of Youth Congress leaders marched to the location of the movie ‘Keedam’ and repeated the drama.
Meanwhile, efforts were made to reach a compromise and force actor Joju to withdraw a complaint against the leaders of the Youth Congress, but it did not work.
The Malayalam film industry has expressed concern about the turn of events. Many came to support Joju George, including directors and producers like Ashiq Abu and B Unnikrisnan. Actor-turned-MP Mukesh made a submission to the assembly on the issue and the chief minister responded that the Youth Congress violates basic rights like freedom of speech and the right to occupation.
The Youth Congress doesn’t seem in the mood to listen, not even its own leaders. KPCC chairman K. Sudhakaran called on party men to refrain from protesting against the film shoots. He warned them not to target the entire film industry. However, Sudhakaran did not ask them to stop chasing George.
NS Nusoor, vice president of state for the Youth Congress, said on Facebook that the party’s protest against filming in public places and actor George would continue.
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The Mahila Congress also played its part. The workers took part in a “police station march” in Ernakulam on Wednesday November 10 for failing to file an FIR against Joju. A congressional activist Mahila had filed a complaint claiming that Joju “had misbehaved and verbally abused women” at the roadblock in Kochi. However, all of the drama was captured in videos, and police found no evidence to prove the claim of Mahila’s congressional workers.
Social media was inundated with anti-Congress trolls. Some of the trolls said the actor should immediately “cut gasoline prices,” an apparent approach by Congress that is curbing the bad tree.
However, all efforts by the Youth Congress to involve George were not in vain. The Department of Motor Vehicles filed a complaint against the actor for replacing his car’s high-security license plate (HSRP) with one.