National award-winning actor Salim Kumar said on Tuesday that he was not on the list of 24 film personalities who will light a lamp at the Kochi leg of the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) as he was a Congress supporter.
“This is a festival conducted by those affiliated to the Communist Party of India (Marxist). I was told that my age was a bar for being invited to the inaugural function, in which 24 persons who had won awards at various levels will light the lamp,” he alleged.
Mr. Salim Kumar pointed out that filmmakers such as Aashiq Abu and Amal Neerad, who are part of the list, had studied along with him at Maharaja’s College, Ernakulam. “I will be elder to them by three or four years. Moreover, I am not a 90-year-old,” he said.
The actor said he would not attend the event even if his name was included now as the organisers had insulted him.
“They have succeeded in ensuring that I am not part of the inaugural function,” he said.
‘No political reasons’
Filmmaker Kamal, chairman of the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy, denied the allegations while saying that there were no political reasons for not having the actor at the inaugural function. “The organising committee, which comprised members of various film trade bodies, had included new-generation film personalities among those who would light the lamp on the occasion,” he said.
Asked whether Mr. Salim Kumar’s name had figured on the list, Mr. Kamal said he needed to check with the organising committee. However, he said that the festival in Kochi could not be held without the presence of Mr. Salim Kumar.