What is the ‘Vazhakk’ issue? Tovino Thomas vs Sasidharan explained

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Tovino Thomas accused of interfering with the release of ‘Vazhakk’

What’s the story

A disagreement has arisen between Malayalam film director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan and actor Tovino Thomas over the release of their film, Vazhakk (2022).

Sasidharan accused Thomas of interfering with the film’s release as he feared it could negatively affect his career.

The director made these accusations in a Facebook post last week.

Now Thomas has publicly addressed the allegations and vehemently denied any involvement in the release.

Thomas insisted that film would not appeal to the general public: Sasidharan

Sasidharan revealed that Vazhakk was produced in just two weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic on a budget of ₹50 lakh, financed equally by Thomas and Girish Nair of Parrot Mount Pictures.

He claimed that despite post-production efforts, the film failed to secure acceptance at any film festival.

The director then suggested releasing the film on OTT platforms to Thomas, but the actor insisted Vazhakk was a “festival film” and would not appeal to the general public.

Despite a successful IFFK run, Thomas remained hesitant

Furthermore, the director announced that the film had a successful run at the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), and he approached Thomas again for the release.

However, the actor remained hesitant to release the film commercially and expressed concerns about its impact on his career.

He then proposed to compensate for this with subsequent films.

Sasidharan criticized Tovino’s position in his post as “unjust”.

Thomas shared his side of the story

In response to Sasidharan’s allegations, Thomas took to Instagram to share his stance.

He reminisced about the challenging filming process and stated that he decided to produce the film out of respect for Sasidharan’s craft.

He revealed that he invested ₹27 lakh in the film’s production without any returns.

Addressing the claim about Vazhakk Being rejected by several festivals, Thomas clarified that it was accepted at other festivals as well.

Sasidharan interfered with the commercial release, Thomas said

Thomas further explained that Sasidharan proposed a theatrical release after IFFK Vazhakk but introduced another party as distributor.

This made Thomas hesitant as he believed that festival goers tend to be more academic and in-depth study films, which may not be true for commercial audiences.

He expressed concern that this could result in the film not receiving the respect it deserves and being quickly removed from theaters.

Thomas claimed he had suggested OTT release; participation in MAMI

Contrary to Sasidharan’s claims, Thomas further said that he suggested a direct OTT release as a way to reach the film’s target audience.

However, he said the director was not ready to hand over the creative rights to the streaming platforms, which is a usual requirement for an OTT release.

Thomas also suggested participating in the Mumbai Film Festival (MAMI), but Sasidharan rejected this idea fearing that the film might leak online.

Thomas presented evidence; due to financial mismanagement by Sasidharan

Ultimately, Thomas repeated his claims and cited the possession of WhatsApp conversations with the director as evidence.

He stated that they had seemingly agreed on an OTT release, but nothing had been finalized yet.

The 2018 actor further accused Sasidharan of lack of financial investment in the film, alleging that IFFK’s proceeds were embezzled.

Meanwhile, he said efforts to contact Sasidharan personally have been fruitless as he is reportedly missing from his home in Thiruvananthapuram.

Sasidharan refuted Thomas’ claims with eight detailed points

Now, in the latest update, Sasidharan took to Facebook and accused Thomas of presenting only half-truths. He refuted Thomas’ claims with arguments spanning eight points.

Speaking of the movie, Vazhakkua 2022 crime drama starring Kani Kusruti, Sudev Nair and Azees Nedumangad.

The cinematography is by Chandru Selvaraj, while Sasidharan is handling the editing.

The film follows Siddharthan, a lawyer who flees after cheating on his wife on the day of their divorce. He meets Sathi and her daughter, creating transformative experiences.