According to the latest development in the ongoing controversy over the ONV Award being awarded to #MeToo accused poet-lyricist Vairamuthu, the ONV Cultural Academy has now issued a notice stating that the award will be re-examined.
The notice was issued days after he was chosen for the 5th ONV Literary Award, which was highly slammed by several celebrities including Parvathy Thiruvothu, Geethu Mohandas, Rima Kallingal and Anjali Menon. The celebs had even taken to their social media handles to express their disappointment by calling the act disrespectful towards the late legendary poet ONV Kurup.
Actress Parvathy had posted a hard-hitting message on her Instagram handle that read, "ONV sir is our pride. His contribution as a poet and lyricist is incomparable. How it has nourished our culture, our hearts and minds have benefited through his body of work. This is exactly why it is immense disrespect to give such an honour in his name to the accused of sexual assault crimes."
Under the same post, the actress stated that it was unfair to honour Vairamuthu who has been allegedly accused by 17 women including singer Chinmayi Sripaada of sexual harassment during the #MeToo movement. She further added, "17 women have come out with their stories. We don't know how many more have been wronged. There seems to be enough whataboutery to continue wronging those who are wronged. Only to uphold the reputation of those in power. Nothing is more important than humanity. If you come at me with the art vs artist debate, let me tell you that for me the humanity of the person creating the art is the only thing I'd choose to look at. I can live without the "art" of those who hollow out lives with absolute impunity. How do you justify this? #adoorgopalakrishnan and the jury who decided to the accused Vairamuthu this honour."
On the other hand, Chinmayi also had criticized the jury with her social media post. An evidently disappointed singer tweeted, "Mr. Vairamuthu gets the fifth ONV literary award instituted by the ONV Cultural Academy. Wow. Late Mr ONV Kurup would be proud."
Mr. Vairamuthu gets the fifth ONV literary award instituted by the ONV Cultural Academy.— Chinmayi Sripaada (@Chinmayi) May 26, 2021
Late Mr ONV Kurup would be proud.
Actress-turned-director Geethu Mohandas expressed her support to Chinmayi as she wrote on her social media handle, "An award in the name of one of our greatest literary figure shouldn't go to a man accused by 17 women of sexual harassment. In solidarity with you #ChinmayiSripada."
On the other hand, popular actress Rima Kallingal wrote, "Vairamuthu has been called out for sexual harassment by 17 women."
Revealing that she was disturbed after learning about ONV Academy's latest decision to honour an alleged perpetrator, director Anjali Menon had tweeted, "ONV Sir's name resounds with deep sensitivity, dignity and respect for any Malayalee. Therefore very disturbed to know that ONV Academy has chosen an alleged perpetrator (called out by 17 women) for the #ONVAward. Are these the values they celebrate?"
ONV Sir's name resounds with deep sensitivity, dignity and respect for any Malayalee. Therefore very disturbed to know that ONV Academy has chosen an alleged perpetrator (called out by 17 women) for the #ONVAward. Are these the values they celebrate? https://t.co/Y87dOIcGfj— Anjali Menon (@AnjaliMenonFilm) May 27, 2021
Responding to the reactions by many celebrities, filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan who is also Chairman of the ONV Cultural Academy, during an earlier media interaction had said that the award is given purely for excellence in writing and therefore the decision of the jury will not be re-evaluated.
For the unversed, the ONV Award is given to poets and lyricists across India as a recognition of their work. This time, the award was decided by a jury including poet Prabha Varma, writer Alankode Leelakrishnan and Malayalam University Vice-Chancellor Anil Vallathol. Notably, this marks the first time when a non-Keralite has been chosen for the prestigious award.