Already divided by political affiliations, the Telugu film industry is now witnessing a bitter exchange of words even on the issue of relief to the flood-hit people in Andhra Pradesh.
Actor-turned-politician K. Chiranjeevi and his contemporary actor and producer Mohan Babu were Wednesday locked in a verbal duel after the latter made some remarks against the president of Praja Rajyam Party (PRP).
Referring to the absence of Chiranjeevi at a meeting called by Movie Artists Association (MAA) to discuss the assistance to be provided by the industry to flood victims, Mohan Babu had made certain remarks.
Reacting to those remarks, Chiranjeevi told reporters Wednesday morning that people would not forgive Mohan Babu for his comments and reminded him that he was the first to reach out to people in flood-hit areas. "If he (Mohan Babu) gets a mike he can deliver good dialogues," said Chiranjeevi, who floated PRP last year.
Mohan Babu, also a former MP, reacted strongly to Chiranjeevi's comments, saying he does not even know how a legislator should behave. "If you want to know how a MLA should behave, then watch 'Assembly Rowdy' (a film starring Mohan Babu)," he advised Chiranjeevi, who represents Tirupati assembly constituency.
He denied that he passed any comments against Chiranjeevi at MAA meeting. "I am not afraid of anybody. If I want to say something I will say directly to him. I only stated that those who are not attending the meeting despite having sound health will not be forgiven by people," said Mohan Babu, who was expelled from Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in 1998 after he raised the banner of revolt against Chandrababu Naidu.
Tollywood, as the Telugu film industry is known, is already divided on party lines. Ever since Chiranjeevi launched PRP and fought the recent elections, the differences among stars came to the fore. Chiranjeevi's actor brothers Naga Babu and Pavan Kalyan, actor son Ramcharan Teja and brother-in-law and filmmaker Allu Aravind actively campaigned for PRP.
N. Balakrishna and Junior NTR, popular actors and son and grandson of former chief minister N.T. Rama Rao, respectively, campaigned for TDP.
Actor couple Rajasekhar and Jeevitha, who were allegedly attacked by Chiranjeevi's fans last year for making certain comments against him, campaigned for the Congress party while actress Jayasudha contested the assembly election as a ruling party candidate.
Chiranjeevi's party finished a poor third in the elections with 18 seats in 294-member assembly while it drew a blank in the Lok Sabha elections.