The Telugu film industry’s own version of #MeToo movement has taken an ugly political turn when actor-cum-aspiring politician Pawan Kalayan was dragged in to it unwittingly.
The month-old saga of Sri Reddy set the Telugu film industry in a state of shock when she stripped herself on Hyderabad roads on April 7, exactly two weeks ago. Soon, she revealed the top producers, directors and individuals involved in the so-called ‘casting couch’ tirade unleashed on women aspirants in to the film field.
The real drama began when she appealed to Pawan Kalyan, who is at cudgils with the estranged ruling TDP and the AP chief minister Chandrababu Naidu. In his response, he asked her to approach the police.
Intrigued at his response, Sri Reddy called him names and used abusive language and apologized for calling him a brother. She took out her own sandal and slapped her own cheek i disgust, claiming police complaint would be a hogwash in such cases. Another Telugu film director Ram Gopal Verma, who was waiting in the wings, claimed that it was he who played the “Sutradhari” and apologized to Pawan Kalyan.
Even Sri Reddy apologized but Pawan Kalyan has unleashed his anger this time and forced AP CM and his son, AP9 TV channel owner, host of others into the row for bringing him disrepute on TV channels repeatedly telecasting the public rant of Sri Reddy against him.
On Friday, the building of the apex body Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce, in Hyderabad’s Film Nagar, took the centre-stage with the entire Chiranjeevi’s family and fans attending and the meeting where Pawan Kalyan discussed the next course of action. He questioned why the Movie Artists Association (MAA) did not initiate any action against what he called ‘erring’ TV channels.
Notwithstanding, Ram Gopal Verma has given out his version to answer Pawan Kalyan. Today, the chamber is meeting to discuss and release its statement against the TV channels which have been airing the news of Sri Reddy and giving her undue publicity.
Already Telugu TV news channels, including TV9, TV5 and Mahaa News have taken exception to Pawan Kalyan’s tweets alleging aspersion on them. “When Pawan Kalyan is doing Pada Yatra, he needs us to cover but not when we cover victims of ‘casting coach’ in the Telugu film industry. He cannot tell us what to cover and what not to cover,” said Allam Narayana of TV5.
The the Movie Artists Association is meeting on saturday in Hyderabad to issue a statement supporting Pawan Kalyan and initiating legal notices to all the TV channels which have broadcast the rant by Sri Reddy.
As politics entered the Telugu film industry’s #MeToo movement, the desired dilution has happened and the attention is wholly on a bigger name Pawan Kalyan, not Sri Reddy now.