5 times Nandamuri Balakrishna got away with problematic behaviour: From slapping fans to casual misogyny - Hindustan Times
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5 times Nandamuri Balakrishna got away with problematic behaviour: From slapping fans to casual misogyny

May 30, 2024 02:32 PM IST

Hansal Mehta called Nandamuri Balakrishna a ‘scumbag’ for shoving Anjali at an event. Looking back at other times, he got away with problematic behaviour.

Controversy’s favourite child, Nandamuri Balakrishna, is at it again. The actor-politician was caught on camera shoving actor Anjali on stage at a recent event, all because she didn’t move away from him quickly enough. Patience is a virtue, but the actor seems to lack it. (Also Read: Nandamuri Balakrishna pushes actor Anjali at an event; Hansal Mehta asks ‘who is this scumbag’)

Redditors called Nandamuri Balakrishna a 'serial offender' for his ill behaviour towards his colleagues and fans.
Redditors called Nandamuri Balakrishna a 'serial offender' for his ill behaviour towards his colleagues and fans.

The issue only escalated with filmmaker Hansal Mehta calling him a ‘scumbag’ for his behaviour and Redditors digging into how Balakrishna has actually been a ‘serial offender’. Looking back at five times, he displayed problematic behaviour and got away with it.

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Shoot-out in Hyderabad

In 2004, Balakrishna made news for shooting at filmmaker Bellamkonda Suresh and an associate, Satyanarayana Chowdhary, with a revolver registered under his wife Vasundhara Devi’s name. He claimed to have lost consciousness after shooting at them and was rushed to a private hospital in the city. After his arrest, he claimed ‘self-defence’ as he was attacked by Bellamkonda and Satyanarayana with a paper-knife (cutter).

A day after Bellamkonda told the press that Balakrishna shot at him with ‘intent to kill’, he had a sudden bout of amnesia, claiming he didn’t know who shot at him. But he did remember enough to claim he didn’t attack ‘Balayya Babu’ with a paper-knife as he was a ‘fan’. He also admitted to there being an argument preceding the shoot-out, which left him and Satyanarayana injured. Nothing came of the case due to lack of proper evidence.

Making vulgar comments

At an event in 2016, Balakrishna made misogynistic comments about the kind of roles his fans supposedly want him to play. He claimed that his fans are no longer happy if he just woos women on-screen, they would like him to do more. He said, “I can only do certain kinds of roles due to my fans. Will they agree if I woo girls or just eve-tease? They won’t accept. I have to either kiss her or make her pregnant in the least. I have to commit to it.”

The political party he’s a member of, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) later issued a statement on his behalf, “Balakrishna regrets over his remarks and apologises if they hurt the feelings of any section. He made those remarks as part of fun (during the movie function) and did not aim at anyone. He also said that he inherited the culture of respecting women from his father NT Rama Rao.”

A slapping spree

In the last decade, Balakrishna’s name has become synonymous with slapping. The actor’s mistreatment of fans in places like Nandyal and Tirupati was justified by director Puri Jagannadh, who claimed that his fans enjoyed and yearned for them.

Balakrishna once slapped a fan in Hindupur for aiming his phone camera at him in 2021. The fan spoke to the press when controversy rose and claimed he ‘didn’t mind’ it. In 2017, he slapped a fan in Nandyal for falling on him by mistake while taking a selfie. The same year, he threw a fan’s phone during a screening while another fan was verbally abused for wanting a selfie.

Abusing an assistant

A video of Balakrishna from the sets of Jai Simha in 2018 surfaced online in which he is seen abusing an assistant. He hits the assistant on the head and asks him to clean or tie his shoes. He continues talking to the crew as the assistant works on his boots, unaware that they are being recorded.

Yet again, people were miffed by his behaviour, with some even calling for a ‘ban’ against him. However, with the film industry and his fans enabling his behaviour, Balakrishna got away with it once again without any fallout. ‘Balayya is at it again’ was the common sentiment.

Radhika’s experience

Talking to Neha Dhupia about BFFs with Vogue, Radhika Apte shared her experience with a “powerful” south actor without taking names. She mentioned how she was made to feel uncomfortable on these two Telugu films she did (Legend, Lion - both with Balakrishna). Radhika even claimed that she doesn’t want to generalise, because she was never uncomfortable working with Rajinikanth in Tamil.

She told Neha, “I did south Indian films, they pay you well and you bloody deserve it. I wouldn’t generalise it, but in the projects I worked on, there was (no gender equality). These men are extremely powerful and you’re called two hours before, made to wait, treated differently.”

Radhika added, “My first day in that Telugu film, I am lying because I’m not well (her character). The actor walks in; I don’t even know him, he starts tickling my feet. He is a big actor. I got up and snapped at him in front of everybody; I said don’t ever do that to me. He didn’t expect that, but he didn’t touch me after that. This never happened to me on Rajinikanth’s film. It’s particularly the two Telugu films I did.”

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