(Eds: Adding director Bharathirajaa's statement) Thiruvananthapuram, May 28 (PTI) The ONV Cultural Academy on Friday said it has decided to review the decision to grant the fifth ONV Literary Prize to well-known Tamil poet-lyricist Vairamuthu.
The academy's decision comes in the wake of mounting protests from various quarters to give the award to the Tamil song-writer and poet, who is facing 'MeToo' accusations.
However, this reason was not cited in a one line statement issued to the press.
In the statement, Academy president Adoor Gopalakrishnan said the decision to review this year's award was taken following suggestions from the jury.
The award, being given to poets from Malayalam and other Indian languages by the ONV Cultural Academy here, comprises a cash prize of Rs 3,00,000 and a citation.
An expert jury, comprising Malayalam University vice- chancellor Anil Vallathol and poets Alankode Leelakrishnan and Prabha Varma, selected the winner.
Noted critic M Leelavathi had bagged the award last year.
Also a novelist, Vairamuthu was conferred the Padma Shri in 2003 and Padma Bhushan in 2014.
Celebrities, including Malayalam actor Parvathy Thiruvothu, had criticised the jury for choosing to honour Vairamuthu with the prestigious award, constituted in the memory of legendary poet O N V Kurup.
Parvathy had in an Instagram post, slammed the jury for disrespecting Kurup by selecting an 'accused of sexual assault' as the winner.
'ONV sir is our pride... 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,' she wrote in a note.
Meanwhile, veteran Tamil director Bharathirajaa came to the defence of Vairamuthu, saying there were attempts to 'shake' the lyricist, who was residing proudly in the hearts of Tamils all over.
The decision to review the prize given to the poet was due to 'political pressure,' he claimed in a statement uploaded on his Twitter handle.
Of late, there has been an 'undeclared war on my (Tamil) race and language' out of vendetta and efforts were being made to disrepute 'individual' ethos through religious, racial and linguistic divide, he said.
'To think that you can be shaken up will remain a dream,' he said and urged Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin, Leader of the Opposition K Palaniswami and other political leaders to stand by Vairamuthu. PTI LGK TGB SA APR ADMINISTRATOR APR ADMINISTRATOR