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Last Updated Monday November 20 2017 11:17 AM IST

Superstar or super villain? Insiders point to a world of deceit and depravity

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Superstar or super villain? Insiders point to a world of deceit and depravity Dileep

The history of Malayalam cinema can be divided into two, a director said as news poured out that actor Dileep has been arrested in connection with the shocking attack on an actress. “Cinema before Dileep’s arrest and after it.”

Vinayan's comments were echoed by many of the insiders. They say that the tragic events were waiting to happen in an industry that has come to be dominated by criminal elements.

'Cruel joker'

Alleppey Ashraf, producer

When Dileep was taken to the Aluva sub jail, I was reminded of his role in sending a producer-distributor to the same jail 15 years ago.

Dinesh Panicker, who distributed Dileep’s Udayapuram Sultan, was sent to jail after a check was dishonored. By the time the movie was completed, the producers had run out of money. They had to give Dileep Rs 1.5 lakh more as remuneration. Dileep insisted that they pay up before he dubbed for the movie.

Panicker offered to give Dileep a check as a guarantee even though, as distributor, he did not have to. The movie was released and it flopped.

Meanwhile, Dileep called up Panicker to say that he was going to present the check. Panicker told Dileep that he already owed Rs 25 lakh and pleaded with him not to present the check. Dileep did not budge. The check bounced.

 Superstar or super villain? Insiders point to a world of deceit and depravity Dileep, Harisree Ashokan and Innocent in 'Udayapuram Sultan'

After one and a half years, Panicker was visited by a police party and three advocates from Aluva. Panicker knew why they had come on a Friday. The next day was a second Saturday, when courts were closed. The police offered Panikker to let him go if he could pacify Dileep. Many of the producers called up Dileep on behalf of Panicker. Dileep would only tell them to let the advocates do their job.

Dinesh Panicker takes dignified stance on Dileep's arrest

Panicker was taken from Thiruvananthapuram to Paravoor. He was produced before a magistrate around 1 am. He collapsed in front of the magistrate. The magistrate ordered the police to admit the detainee into a hospital.

The producers hit back by calling for a boycott of Dileep for two years. Fellow actor Innocent tried to mediate on behalf of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA). Dileep apparently swore by God that he had done nothing to get Panicker arrested. He eventually withdrew his complaint and the producers lifted the boycott.

I felt that Dileep was a cruel joker. I have made three movies with Prem Nazir in the lead. If any of his movies flopped, he would be the first person to call up the producer. He had more than consoling words to offer. He would offer to act in the next movie to bail out the producer and the director.
The recent developments show us how the Malayalam cinema field has changed.

'Power center'

Tulasi Das, director

I had already cast Dileep in Mayaponman and Dosth when I approached him again to work with Kuttanad Express.

Liberty Basheer had already committed to produce the movie but Dileep did not want to work with him. He suggested several names before zeroing in on a producer from Mumbai. I accompanied him to Mumbai. I even convinced the producer to pay Dileep Rs 40 lakh when he said he wanted that money urgently for his real estate business. He was to cut the amount from the remuneration.

Dileep changed the lead actress first. He also wanted the cameraman and the music composer to go. I refused. Dileep was cross with me. He went on a secret mission to Mumbai and lobbied the producer to get me out of the project. I was completely out of the loop. I came to know of it from a cinema publication. I pursued the case for six months but nothing happened. Dileep reached an agreement with the producer, who wanted the money back anyways.

I called up Dileep several times but he would not take my call. When I visited him at a shooting location in Kochi, he placed his leg on the chair in front of him. I was made to stand in front of him throughout. I was pained. My woes only aggravated after I complained against him in various trade bodies. Dileep saw to it that several actors refused to work with me. At least two movies had to be dropped because the producers backtracked.

Dileep’s henchmen would call up me and my family members to intimidate us. When I went to narrate a storyline to a superstar, he asked me if I wanted to file a complaint against him. Many of them refused even to meet me.

The greatest letdown was from an actress who made her debut in one of my movies. She did not even invite me to her wedding fearing Dileep’s wrath.

'Undesirable trendsetter'

Rajasenan, director

We had a decent work culture where even big stars such as Mammootty, Mohanlal, Suresh Gopi and Jayaram were prompt in coming to work once they offered their dates. Dileep was among the first actors who wanted a say in everything whether it was the choice of co-actors or light boys.

I have worked with Dileep in two movies. I was planning to make a movie based on Aithihyamala. Dileep gave me his date after a Bengaluru-based producer agreed to invest. The project cost estimate was Rs 10 crore.

When I picked J. Pallassery as script writer, Dileep wanted it to be collaboration between two writers. We paid in advance to Dileep and the script writers. All of them started evading me after that. I soon realized that they wanted me out of the project as well.

Dileep went to Bengaluru to meet the producer and I was out of the project. Many of the undesirable trends in Malayalam cinema started with Dileep.

  • Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar

    Georgettan's Pooram (2017): Directed by K. Biju, the film is Dileep's latest. The film was a dud as Dileep's screen charisma failed to weave a magic. It turned out to be a nemesis as a selfie at the shooting location of the film provided curcial evidence in the probe into actress attack case.

    Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar
  • Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar

    Welcome to Central Jail: The film (2016) was directed by Sundar Das. Vedhika plays the female lead. Ironically, the film proved to be a jinx for Dileep. One year later he was slapped with conspiracy charges in the sensational actress attack case. He was trolled on the social media with memes of clips from the movie that went against Dileep.

    Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar
  • Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar

    Thilakkam (2003) The comedy directed by Jayaraj was intended to be a laugh riot. The film had Kavya Madhavan as lead pair opposite Dileep. The movie once again proved Dileep could handle comic scenes with elan. Though the film didn't go down well with critics, it was a success at the box office.

    Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar
  • Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar

    Pinneyum (2016): The film was written, co-produced and directed by Adoor Gopalakrishnan. This was the last film Dileep paired with Kavya Madhavan before the actress attack row erupted.

    Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar
  • Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar

    Life of Josutty (2015): Substantial or hollow, a Dileep flick has by now become a sure bet for producers and theater owners. He had endeared himself to legions of family audience through his clownish and wits and tear-jerking emotions. The film directed by Jeethu Joseph had Jyothi Krishna playing the female lead opposite Dileep.

    Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar
  • Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar

    Singaravelan(2013): The film directed by Jose Thomas. The film starring Dileep and Vedika in the lead reaffirmed Dileep's position as a people's hero. The film was critically denounced. However, its commercially success proved his mass appeal.

    Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar
  • Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar

    My Boss: The third film by Jeethu Joseph My boss is a loose remake of the 2009 Hollywood film The Proposal. The film was most noted for the crackling chemistry between Dileep and Mamtha Mohandas and their fine comic timing.

    Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar
  • Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar

    Kathavaseshan (2004): This T.V. Chandran movie saw Jyothirmayi playing the female lead opposite Dileep. The film proved Dileep's mettle in emoting serious roles. He displayed splendid acting which catapulted him beyond the realm of mimicry.

    Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar
  • Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar

    CID Moosa (2003): The film directed Johny Antony had Dileep as the co-producer along with his brother Anoop. The film set off a new era in Malayalam film industry and cemented Dileep's position as a safe bet in comedy and action genre. The film had Bhavana playing the female lead opposite Dileep.

    Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar
  • Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar

    Meesa Madhavan: The film directed by Lal Jose and written by Ranjan Pramod had Dileep in the title role. The film went on to become a commercial success and the highest grossing Malayalam film of 2002 and also established Dileep's status as a bankable star.

    Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar
  • Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar

    Ee Parakkum Thalika (2001): The film directed by Thaha had Nithya Das playing the female lead opposite Dileep. The film was an out-and-out comedy filled with slapstick and situational humor. Replete with antiques and buffoonery, the film was on the beaten formulaic track of caper comedy.

    Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar
  • Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar

    Dhosth (2001): A campus movie on love triangle which had Dileep, Kavya Madhavan and Kunchacko Boban playing the prominent roles. The film was directed by Thulasidas.

    Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar
  • Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar

    Ishtam (2001): Directed by Sibi Malayil, Navya Nair paired with Dileep in the lead. The film proved Dileep's ability to blend humor and emotion so well and he excelled in playing an endearing character.

    Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar
  • Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar

    Thenkassipattanam (2000): The film was directed by Rafi Mecartin. The multi-starrer highlighted the immense talent of Dileep to rub shoulders with the towering personalities in Malayalam film industry. The film was a blockbuster and proved to be Dileep's launchpad for low-budget, high-grosser flicks.

    Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar
  • Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar

    Chandranudikkuna Dikil (1999): The film was directed by Lal Jose. Dileep and Kavya Madhavan were in the lead roles. The film gave Kavya Madhavan her break as a lead actress. Lal, Biju Menon, Samyuktha Varma, Jagadish, and Innocent played prominent roles.

    Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar
  • Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar

    Punjabi House: The 1998 Malayalam comedy, written and directed by Rafi Mecartin, saw Dileep, Mohini, Lal, Cochin Hanifa, Harisree Asokan, Neena Kurup, and Janardanan. The movie gave Dileep a much-needed break with the role of Unni.

    Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar
  • Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar

    Ee Puzhayum Kadannu (1996): The film directed by Kamal had Dileep and Manju Warrier in the lead. The film saw the slow emergence of the naive hero who effectively harped on the emotional nerves of middle class audience. That film was a hit and proved to be a curtain raiser for several low-brow Dileep-genre movies.

    Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar
  • Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar

    Sallapam (1996): The film scripted by A.K. Lohithadas was directed by Sundar Das. With the film Dileep embarked on his modest journey as a lead actor. It was the first movie which had Dileep and Manju Warrier as the lead pair.

    Dileep's eventful journey: from sidekick to superstar

'The avenger'

Vinayan, director

I had originally cast Dileep for Oomappenninu Uriyadappayyan. But I had to drop him when he pressured to change the script writer.

I had never bothered to talk against him in any televised debates about the attack on the actress. Dileep had called me up to thank me for that. He had hurt me a lot but I never thought he could do something like this. I was wrong. Dileep's revenge is of elephantine proportions.

Dileep led the formation of the FEFKA overnight to get even with me. He got many directors to resign from the MACTA in a single night. He also saw to it that two people backtracked after offering to buy satellite rights to my movies.

Malayalam cinema could be divided into before the arrest of Dileep and after it.

Avatar

Actors may be on-screen darlings but they seldom rise to their persona. A businessman had a taste of celebrity wrath when he signed up the actor’s former wife for an ad campaign. The actor called up the businessman and wanted him to drop the campaign. The businessman stood his ground.
The actor called up again, this time in a changed tone. The businessman was showered with a hail of abuses and threats. The businessman was witnessing another avatar of the actor, who was also a family friend.

(To be continued...)

(Reported by Unni K Warrier, Renji Kuriakose, R Krishna Raj and Joji Simon; Compiled by Tony Jose)

Read more: Latest news from Kerala | Abduction, trafficking, hawala: Who is this Pulsar Suni?

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