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Battle for Nadigar Sangam – The Complete Story

Saturday, June 20, 2015 • Tamil Comments

The South Indian Film Actors Association generally known as Nadigar Sangam was formed in the year 1952 by the initiatives of legendary actors Sivaji Ganesan, MGR, M.R.Radha and others of the time.  M.G.R. contributed Rupees forty thousand and with a contribution of another forty thousand from members a ninety nine cent land was bought in the prime locality of Habibullah Road T. Nagar,  and a building with a screening hall , a gym and an office were built and inaugurated by the then Chief Minister M.G.R. in the year 1977.

Later the association had huge debts to the tune of 4.5crores which was paid back by the then President Vijayakanth after conducting a star night in Singapore and Malaysia in the year 2002. After Vijayakanth floated his own political party after a request from actor S.Ve. Shekar that no politician should be the president Vijayakanth stepped down and Sarathkumar became the President and Radharavi became the Secretary.

In the year 2010 a decision is taken that the old building should be demolished and a new one be built.  After much delibration President Sarathkumar and Radharavi sign an agreement on 25.11.2010 with Sathyam Cinemas in which the ninety nine cents land will be leased out to the company for thirty years who will build a seven storey multiplex allotting one floor for Nadigar Sangam use and during the stipulated period Sathyam will pay Rupees Twenty Six lakhs per month to the Sangam after taking care of the complete maintainece. In March 2011 the existing building is demolished.

On 23.12.2012 a member of the three thousand strong association Poochi Murugan files a case in the court alleging that President Sarathkumar and Radharavi who are related to each other by marriage signed the agreement with Sathyam cinemas on their own whim and did not consult any other member and the required nine committee members have not signed or even stood witness.  The case is still with the court thus preventing the building work to commence.

Young hero Vishal started raising questions as early as 2013 that the Sathyam Cinemas agreement should be cancelled and a new building should be built by the association itself.  Sarath Kumar at that time replied that according this agreement there will be a regular income for the association which would go a long way in helping the poverty stricken members.  Vishal has long claimed that the president had promised to lay the foundation for the building on 14th January 2014 failing which the alternative plan by Vishal and co would be followed. Vishal’s altercation with the top brass of the association continued when he questioned Nadigar Sangam’s inaction in the ‘Vishwaroopam’ issue and was issued a show cause notice.  Following this a member K.N Kaalai allegedly called Vishal and his supporters a pack of dogs for which he later apologised.

From the beginning of 2015 Vishal became more vocal raising issues against the present office bearers demanding that the agreement with Sathyam be cancelled and some other alternative be looked into.  Vishal went to the extent of saying that he will not marry until a building comes up at the now vacant land. Vishal also pointed out that the residents association of the neighbouring area of the Sangam as well as the Padma Sheshadri School have acquired a stary against building a multiplex in the area.  When Sarathkumar and Radharavi did not give a reply that satisfied Vishal and his team finally they have decided to contest the elections with Nasser for President and Vishal for Secretary and Karthi for Treasurer.

Sarathkumar announced that the Nadigar Sangam elections will be held on the 15th of July and Vishal went to court seeking a reversal of the date to a second Sunday to facilitate all members to vote.  The court has seeked an explanation within fifteen days.

In this scenario Vishal, Karthi, Nasser, Karunaas, Ponvannan and S.Ve Shekar are heading the team which has the support of Arya, Jayam Ravi, Jiiva, Ramya Krishnan and other mostly young actors.  Vishal proposes that a new multistarrer with all the young actors or even few films with individual actors be made and the profits used to construct a building which will also have a marriage hall for the poor actors to conduct their family weddings free of costs.

Vishal even now has left the window open stating that if Sarathkumar cancels the Sathyam agreement his team will withdraw from the elections.  Vishal and his team have travelled extensively in Tamil Nadu meeting stage actors who are integral members of the association seeking their support.  Sarathkumar and Radharavi remain unfazed and have announced that they are ready to face the elections.

There is a view among some sections that since Vishal and his team are all busy actors some senior actors like Sivakumar and others could be fielded on behalf of the team.  Come July 15th the results will be known and hopefully the issues will be sorted out between the actors who should bear in mind that the Nadigar Sangam was formed to develop brotherhood amongst the artistes and serve as a place where culture and art are nourished to grow for times to come.

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