Cyber-attacks on Mammootty persist; politicians show support

| Updated: 17 May, 2024 1:33 pm IST

Kochi – Amidst increasing social media attacks against Malayalam superstar Mammootty from various quarters following the allegations made by a businessman named Mohammed Shershad in connection with a controversial movie released in 2022 named ‘Puzhu’, politicians from the Left, Congress have come forward in support of the three-time National Award and Padma Shri winner.

Mammotty in 2022 movie called ‘Puzhu’

As per Shershad, husband of filmmaker PT Ratheena who directed the movie ‘Puzhu’ where Mammootty played the lead character, he alleges that the actor was more ‘interested’ to helm the project that was written by a person named Harshad, who is been referred to as a radical Islamist.

The movie had then become controversial as it was highly critical about upper caste Hindus and thus was trolled heavily by right-wing groups in social media groups.

“My wife Ratheena, right from the beginning, had a dream to do a movie which had Mammootty as the lead role. However, she chose the script of ‘Puzhu’ (referred to as a worm). I had firmly opposed the script right from the beginning as it was against a section of Hindu community. But later when Mammootty himself chose Harshad, an extreme Islamist as the scriptwriter, I was quite concerned as to why the actor chose him. This indifference later led to a major altercation with my wife who is a budding director”, said Mohammed Shershad in an interview with popular Malayalam YouTube channel ‘Marunadan Malayali’.

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The three-episode interview and its interpretation have led to widespread cyber-attacks. A section of right-wing handlers claims the actor has paved the way for hardcore Islamists to gain influence in the Malayalam industry by encouraging scriptwriters like Harshad, who is referred to as an Islamist in the interview.

Right-wing social media activists call this phenomenon the emboldening of the ‘Mattanchery mafia’ – a reference to a group of cinema artists in Cochin, believed to be funded by radical Islamists abroad through Hawala routes, to promote the idea of Jihad in the state’s cultural and entertainment spaces. Shershad and his wife are now living separately.

Vowing support to the 72-year-old actor, CPM leader and General Education Minister V Sivankutty uploaded a photo of him sharing space with Mammootty on Facebook page and wrote that the actor is the pride of Keralites. “Mammootty is Malayalees’ pride,” the Minister said in the post.

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AICC General Secretary K C Venugopal said Mammootty cannot be constrained to one religion or caste. “Those who are trying for that have precise political objectives. Kerala should safeguard him from such poisonous hate campaigns,” he wrote on social media.

Mammootty received overwhelming support on social media following the cyber-attacks. However, many users questioned why similar support was not given to actress Shobhana when she faced cyber-attacks for supporting the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his election campaign in Thrissur and Thiruvananthapuram.

The actor is busy with the pre-release promotions of his latest movie ‘Turbo’ directed by Vyshakh and written by Midhun Manuel Thomas.

Meanwhile, Mammootty has not commented on the issue.

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