KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 4 ― The Melaka government has denied conferring south Indian actor Radha Ravi any state award with the “Datuk” title, as the veteran star comes under fire in the Tamil entertainment industry for alleged sexual harassment and intimidation.
A special secretary to the Melaka chief minister who is in charge of public affairs told Malay Mail that Radha Ravi's name was not in the state's database of title recipients.
“Yes, Radha Ravi did not get it and Radha Ravi's name is not in the system,” Prasanth Kumar Brakasam confirmed yesterday when contacted for comment.
Prasanth also confirmed that he had replied an email inquiry from another south Indian entertainer Chinmayi Sriprada on the matter, adding that an official letter will be issued by the Melaka Chief Minister's Office soon.
Chinmayi is a playback singer, voice actor and TV presenter who recently made news in the Tamil entertainment world after she was dropped from the South Indian Cine, Television Artistes and Dubbing Artistes Union headed by Radha Ravi, purportedly over unpaid membership fees.
She had questioned the 66-year-old Radha Ravi’s dubious “Datuk” award after being embroiled in a dispute with him over the termination of her union membership, without which she said she would not be able to dub in Tamil movies anymore.
Indian broadsheet The Hindu had reported in 2012 that Radha Ravi was the first Tamil artiste to be conferred the award while a less-well known south Indian entertainment website called the Kolly Insider reported the actor was to be conferred the “Datuk” award on November 12 that same year.
Radha Ravi’s alleged datukship is not the first to have come under scrutiny.
Indian celebrity Shah Rukh Khan was awarded the Darjah Mulia Seri Melaka award in conjunction with the 70th birthday of Melaka Governor Tun Mohd Khalil Yaakob in 2008, but even the Bollywood star was not spared criticism from Malaysians who wanted to know what he had contributed to deserve the state award.