The shooting of Aakasha Mitayee, has embarked on and actress Iniya, has been brought in to replace actress Varalaxmi Sarath Kumar for the upcoming Malayalam drama. This film, starring Jayaram and Asha Sharrath is the remake of the previous year’s Tamil sleeper hit, Appa, and it’s being directed by Samuthirakani.
In a statement, director Samuthirakani told IANS, “I heard Varalaxmi had some differences with the producers. She chose to exit the project and we respect her decision. Iniya has been brought in as her replacement. We have already commenced shooting.”
Varalaxmi, who was cast opposite Jayaram in the Malayalam version titled as Aakasha Mittayi, opted out of the film citing male-chauvinistic attitude of crew members. Some controversial allegations against the producers were also made by her. Her timing was incredible though since she chose to walk out of the project just days after the film went on the floors, accusing the producers of male chauvinism. She had made the announcement of her decision on her Twitter page and minced no words. “Thank you Samuthirakani sir and Jayaram sir for having supported my decision. I can’t work with male chauvinists and mannerless producers,” Varalaxmi tweeted last month.
It turned out that Varalaxmi referred not to Samuthirakani but to the film’s producer.
When IANS caught up with her at the second edition of IIFA Utsavam 2017, she said that she was unhappy with the “vacuous and insensitive” treatment of the maker. She further added, “I don’t want to comment on the issue. I just didn’t get along with the producers. The way they were handling things was very crass.”
Her revolt against the “manner-less” producers comes with the setting of scene of her disclosure about enduring issue of sexual harassment in the entertainment industry. She revealed that during an official meeting, the programming head of a leading TV channel had made unwanted overtures to her. When she got the peak of his intentions, she promptly asked him to get out.
With Aakasha Mitayee, Samuthirakani is to make his foray in Malayalam films as a film-maker by remaking his last year’s emotional hit film Appa.He’ll also be seen as playing one of the leads in the remake. This touching film shows the heartwarming relationship between father and son and also gives out a few lessons on parenting responsibilities. Samuthirakani had made his mark in the industry with his 2009 film Naadodigal, which became a hit both commercially and critically and was remade in other south Indian languages. He has also directed films like Poraali and Nimirndhu Nil as well as acted in several Malayalam movies.The legend was last seen in Mohanlal’s last year superhit Oppam, in which he had played the antagonist.