The ONV Cultural Academy has said that it has decided to review the decision to grant the fifth ONV Literary Prize to Tamil poet-lyricist Vairamuthu. In a statement issued on May 28, ONV Cultural Academy chairman and renowned filmmaker Adoor Goaplakrishan said the decision to review this year’s award was taken following suggestions from the jury. “At the instance of the selection committee, the award is now under reconsideration,” said the statement.
The Academy is reconsidering its earlier decision following the protest from various corners as the Tamil lyricist is accused of sexual harassment by 17 women, including singer Chinmayi. The decision of the academy to give the fifth ONV Literary Prize to Vairamuthu was announced on May 26. Following this, Chinmayi, in a tweet, made a sarcastic comment on the decision, stating, “Wow. Late Mr. ONV Kurup would be proud.”
Soon, many members of the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) questioned the jury’s decision to confer the award on the poet who has faced a number of allegations of sexual harassment.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is the Chief Patron of the ONV Cultural Academy while noted writer MT Vasudevan Nair and singer KJ Yesudas are the patrons. Eminent personalities from various fields like Dr.MK Muneer, Benoy Viswam MP, and RS Babu are part of the Academy.
The award, being given to poets from Malayalam and other Indian languages by the ONV Cultural Academy, comprises a cash prize of Rs 3,00,000 and a citation. Noted critic M Leelavathi had bagged the award last year.
Celebrities including Malayalam actor Parvathy Thiruvothu had also criticised the jury for choosing to honour Vairamuthu with the prestigious award constituted in the memory of legendary poet ONV Kurup.