Geetu Mohandas lambasts allegations of non-payment of remuneration in ‘Moothon’

The allegation was raised by costume designer Stephy Xavior who had worked in the much-acclaimed Malayalam film

Actor-turned-director Geetu Mohandas has issued a strongly-worded response to an allegation against her raised by costume designer Stephy Xavior about non-payment of remuneration in the former’s much-acclaimed work Moothon.

The controversy erupted after Ms. Xavior made a social media post alleging, without naming neither Ms. Mohandas nor the film, that a prominent member of the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) had denied her payment. The allegation came as it did close on the heels after director Vidhu Vincent made public her scathing letter resigning from WCC, which had caused more problems for an already beleaguered organisation.

In her statement, which was posted in her Facebook account as well, Ms. Mohandas said that while she may have been guilty of unwarranted anger and spoke quite harshly, the circumstances of the said conversation as mentioned by Ms. Xavior was “absolutely false.” She said that the costume design for the entire film was done by Maxima Basu and that Ms. Xavior who was engaged for a small portion when the former had gone on maternity leave could not deliver matching her expectations.

“I believe that it could be my mistake that I failed to inspire you to deliver better. Our association was not fruitful and whatever the events that had transpired following your entry and exit was clearly observed by my entire cast and crew and they can vouch for the same,” Ms. Mohandas said.

She alleged that there was a big misinformation of facts and that the she had a discussion with Ms. Xavior’s assistant after costumes designed by Ms. Basu were taken away from her studio without her knowledge. This caused panic as only two days were left for the shoot.

“We were informed by your assistant that the costumes will not be returned until we settle your entire payment even though you had exited the project and none of your ideas let alone a costume was used in the film. For the time provided by your assistant, my producer had cleared all payments. In fact I called you in for a conversation repeatedly but you never reverted,” Ms. Mohandas accused.

She wondered why the allegations, if they were true, weren’t raised or a complaint registered before the film was released last year. Ms. Mohandas questioned the timing of the allegations and the intent behind the alleged attempt to defamation.

“So kindly observe that, this is exactly what we should not be doing to each other. Women lynching women. If my actions have hurt you I am still ready to meet you for a conversation. I wish you all the best,” she said.

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