Costume designer Liji Preman files plaint against Ratheesh Balakrishnan for mental harassment

Costume designer Liji Preman has alleged mental harassment by filmmaker Ratheesh Balakrishnan Poduval on the sets of ‘Sureshinteyum Sumalathayudeyum Hrudayahariyaya Pranayakadha’. Liji, who approached the Ernakulam Munsiff Court, also claimed that her name was not included in the credit line despite working on the film for 110 days.
Liji in an interview with Manorama Online claimed that Ratheesh had approached her after seeing her work in movies like ‘Barroz’ and Rajnikanth starrer ‘Vettaiyan’. “The crew said that we would be filming for 35 days. I asked them Rs 2.5 lakh as remuneration and was paid Rs 1 lakh as advance. However, I spent 110 days on the film. I faced issues from the director even during the pre – production days. He has ego issues and would treat me like his servant. He behaved as if he had a personal grudge against me. That is why I decide to leave the project. By then, I had completed around 75 per cent of the work,” she said.

FEFKA involvement
Liji decided to approach the Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA) when she realised that her name wasn’t there in the credit line. Besides, she hadn’t received her entire remuneration too. FEFKA members held a compromise talk at the producers’ association’s office before the movie’s release. Liji claimed that the crew had promised to include her name in the credit line. She recalled how they had agreed to give her credit in the presence of union representatives. “The producers didn’t mind adding my name in the credit line. But, the director was stubborn and wanted to drop my name. The producers had interfered twice to give me credit; however, the director insisted that it shouldn’t be there. My name wasn’t there on the posters either,” Liji claimed.

When the movie got released, Liji’s name was credited as ‘assistant’, while another designer’s name received credit as the main costume designer. Liji said she felt insulted “I have been working as a costume designer for some years now. I didn’t want to create a controversy during the film release. However, I want my name to be included in the credit line when the film gets its OTT release. I also want my name included when the movie is submitted for awards,” she said. Ratheesh Poduval, whose previous work ‘Nna Thaan Case Kodu’ went on to become a huge hit, was unavailable for comments.

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