Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy called on an upset Mohanlal on Saturday in an attempt to pacify him. However, the superstar refused to accept the cheque he had returned after his band's disastrous debut at the 35th National Games opening last week.
Though the chief minister insisted the actor refused to budge. Now, the money (Rs 1.63 crore) will be donated to charity. "We have expressed regret over the issue. Now, the money will be diverted to charity. We will give top priority to his suggestion in this regard," said State Sports Minister Thiruvanchur Radhakrishanan who accompanied the chief minister.
The meeting that took place at the actor's residence in Kochi lasted for 20 minutes.
Called Lalisom, his three-hour musical nite at the Green Field stadium on January 31, had invited sharp criticism from many quarters including his own fans association.
Soon after the programme many uploaded video clippings of the event on social media that showed the actor crooning and lip-syncing to a recorded audio tape. Later, the actor admitted that some of the programmes were recorded.
Interestingly, well-known singers including Hariharan, Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik, Karthik and MG Sreekumar were present at the ceremony but sang only one to two songs each leaving the superstar to take the centrestage 'singing' a majority of the songs.
Well-known percussionist Mattanur Shankarankutty (Chenda maestro), who was present at the function, said he would have done a better job if he had been offered half of the amount given to Mohanlal.
Mohanlal, however, said the money was taken to pay artists and those worked behind the scenes. Besides remuneration for celebrity singers and Russian dancers, money was spent on rehearsal, orchestration, mixing and studio fee. Soon after the issue turned into a raging controversy, the actor who is also an honorary Lt Colonel in Territorial Army, said he would return the entire fee.
In a surprise gesture, another superstar Mammootty came forward to the rescue of the beleaguered actor pleading all to end the controversy. Cine organisations have also backed the actor.