What’s with Shane Nigam? Is the 23-year-old actor arrogant, an addict or just plain stupid? These are some of the questions that have been doing rounds in Mollywood for a while now. Some have already passed their judgment while others are still wondering what went wrong. But things are going awry for the talented youngster.
The son of late Kalabhavan Abi, one of the most beloved mimicry artists and comedians who never got his due in Malayalam cinema, Nigam has had his share of struggles. He started off with a dance reality show in his early teens, acted in a TV series and went on to do bit parts in films until he was noticed in Rajeev Ravi’s Annayum Rasoolum. He earned kudos for his debut as the hero in Kismath. Shane Nigam then went on to give impressive performances in C/o Saira Banu, Parava, Eeda, Kumbalangi Nights and Ishq. And just when Malayalam film lovers were getting used to the swift rise to stardom of the talented young actor, Nigam’s change of hairstyle brought matters to a head.
What led to the dramatic turn of events began when Nigam posted a video blaming Veyil producer Joby George of threatening him and his family last month. Joby claimed that Nigam had changed his hairstyle in violation of their contract. Though the issue was initially settled with the intervention of FEFKA and AMMA, matters seemingly didn’t get better. With Shane posting a completely new hairdo on social media with the tagline ‘Pradhishedham’ (protest), things spiraled out of hand.
The Kerala Film Producers’ Association (KFPA) announced on November 28 that they are scrapping three films—Qurbani, Ullasam and Veyil—that had Shane in the lead. In a presser held in Kochi, the Association president M Renjith along with Siad Koker declared that the actor wouldn’t be allowed to work in the industry until he compensates the producers for the abandoned films, which totals to seven crore rupees. They blamed the actor for deliberately disrupting shoots and, demanding more money to dub for a completed film.
Apart from accusations of tardiness and misconduct, the producers’ association also made a surprising statement inviting the police to investigate film sets to crack down on rampant drug abuse, especially among the young actors and crew. This comment will fan public speculation of the young man’s alleged substance abuse. Social media ‘psycho-analysts’ and ‘well-wishers’, along the army of trolls have been targeting Shane Nigam for the past few weeks. KFPA’s statement on drugs has only added fuel.
A few interviews that were aired in the past two-three months did not bode well for Nigam. His incoherent and bizarre comments led to ‘social media investigations’ on his sanity and perceived drug usage. At the same time, he is a youngster who is not articulate like many of his seniors. In interviews post the success of Kumbalangi Nights and Ishq, he came across as an affable young man. And whatever happened in the span of a month is still open to debate.
While the actor is being cornered, his mother Sunila has come out with a plea to listen to their side of the story. Her defence is on the expected lines of a doting mother, though it doesn’t mean that her arguments lack merit. Since the powerful producers’ body has put its foot down, little is left in terms of options for Nigam. And seven crore rupees is a hefty amount to pay back.
Film lovers wouldn’t want to lose out on enjoying the performances of this actor. Despite the seemingly impossible return for Nigam, the producers’ body has offered him a chance to finish the dubbing of Ullasam as a gesture to make amends. Here is hoping that Nigam finds a way to get back into what he is good at doing best— acting.