Popular mimicry, television and cinema artiste Azeez Nedumangad, who was brutally assaulted by a group of persons on Saturday for coming late for a program he had committed, said the attack was premeditated.
Azeez, who shot to fame after featuring in the movie Action Hero Biju, is currently undergoing treatment after suffering serious injuries in the assault.
The attack left him with a perforated eardrum, resulting in 70 percent of hearing loss.
The incident took place at Sree Dharmashastha temple, Chamavila, in Thiruvananthapuram around 11 pm on Saturday.
Though the Vellarada police had registered a case, they waited for two days to take the attackers into custody, Azeez said.
“I’m undergoing treatment at an ENT hospital in Ambalamukku. The doctors have advised me bed rest for six months. It is difficult to survive without doing any job for such a long period. If the organizers did not want to give us money, they should have told us that directly. On one hand, these people argue for the protection of street dogs and on the other they beat up people brutally,” Azeez said.
He was part of 'Team of Trivandrum' troupe which had committed to stage a program at the Sree Dharmashastha temple, Chamavila on Saturday night in connection with the temple festival.
“After a program in Dubai, we came directly to Vellarada from the airport. The program was originally scheduled to begin at 9.30 p.m., but it was delayed by an hour. I was changing my costumes when a group of youngsters barged into the room and showered verbal abuses on me without any provocation. 'We did not spend Rs 45,000 to wait for people like you', they shouted while physically assaulting me. The gang was led by the temple committee president Bibin whom I can easily identify. He abused me in filthy language and thrashed me so hard that my eardrum was ruptured. The doctors said that the damage has resulted in 70 percent of hearing loss in my left ear.
“I’m certain that it was a preplanned attack. At the time, the stage was occupied by some other artistes. The attack cannot be linked to personal or political enmity. I learnt that the same organizers had treated the troupe which performed a Ganamela the previous day shabbily. They were given Rs 10,000 less than the promised amount. Though the Ganamela was over around 12.30 a.m., the committee made the troupe to wait till 4.30 p.m. So, such things have been happening for quite some time.
Generally, these programs are organized by local youngsters. They resort to such tactics to pay artistes lesser than the agreed amount. They would book us for Rs 1 lakh, but will give only 50,000, citing poor attendance. They save money, but it is people like me who become scapegoats. We are ready to perform for lesser than the promised amount, but beating up artistes is unacceptable. If we stop doing shows, our family will be left to starve. We make others laugh, but people should remember that most of us struggle to make ends meet,” Azeez added.