Chalapathy Rao- one of the creeps in Telugu film industry
Now, the Telugu film industry is the most patriarchal, disgusting industry there is. Imagine, someone like Radhika Apte who has been a part of many regional industries has lamented on the state of affairs in Tollywood (9http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/radhika-gives-tollywood-a-piece-of-her-mind/article7063529.ece). Not to hurt the ‘Telugu pride’ after Bahubali and all the records it seems to have broken, so progressive in terms of VFX and CGI, that the regressive turn of events that came in the form Chalapathy (cheapathy from now on) Rao’s words brings us rudely back to our, in colloquial terms, “true colors”. He said, “Girls are not harmful, but they are useful in bed”, this at an audio function of a movie called “Rarandoi Veduka Choodam”. But the tragedy isn’t that the audience laughed, Rakul Preet Singh who seemed to be on the brink of laughter (I can give her the benefit of doubt because she hasn’t learnt the language that well to understand the vulgar comment made), Naga Chaitanya (Akkineni Nagarjuna’s son and hero of the said movie) also happily chuckled, the male anchor completely in agreement with the comment made jokingly reprimanded the female anchor for having gone to cheapathy to ask if girls are harmful.
The tragedy, however, is that TV9, a regional news channel interviewed cheapathy, almost providing a platform for him to make more such comments for the benefit of.. well am not sure why he was given that space at all? This uncle asked the news anchor as to why women were hounding him when the real issues of child rape, rape, and reality shows are not being addressed but his innocent comment has got all kinds of attention. Anyway, women’s groups in the city, and tweeple made it a point to let cheapathy know exactly what they thought of his comments, for that also he had a reply. He said it depends on how we choose to think of his words, see we can think it is good, because obviously ‘pakka’ (bed) can also mean bedsheet, but our brains are so perverted we chose to take it in the wrong manner.
He also asked why women’s groups are after his life. I wanted to tell him, check Youtube or Twitter, even men have condemned your statements. Anyone with an iota of intelligence would, but this senior artist has a reputation for making sexist statements, he once laughed at the fact he has raped many times… wait for it.. in movies. Yes, that’s right, he thought and obviously still thinks it is hilarious that he has raped many a times in his movies. I regret watching his movies now. I don’t think my ears stopped bleeding from everything I heard in a span of twelve hours.
For those who are unaware of how convoluted the Telugu films in particular are, oh wait, you have seen Bahubali 1, right? So, you must know that industries down South have this disgusting fascination with stalkers. Directors, mostly male cannot conceive stories that do not follow the logic of “a woman will fall for me if I stalk her enough”. Yes, you heard it right, and you have seen it in Bahubali too. But this logic is not for all heroes, read: those that come from “star families” For instance, Ram Charan Tej would never be seen stalking, or even Balakrishna who said, “audience would not want us heroes to run behind heroines, we should just go kiss her or get her pregnant, pinch her”, meaning that consent has no space in our Telugu films, heroes are Gods, and heroines can be on their fours (reference: Mahesh Babu’s shameless poster with Kriti Sanon on all fours, and JBTW Kriti Sanon said Mahesh Babu is a great human being). Balayababu, as he is fondly called, also referred to Shraddha Das in the same speech, who reacted by laughing, or maybe she was trying to swallow the bile rising up her throat. Radhika Apte was unfortunate enough to work with this uncle.
And since I referred to Mahesh Babu, I might as well state here that his movies are not complete without him insulting or slapping (sometimes both) the heroine(s) in his movies. There is no point in bringing fans into the picture, think of Fan Bhakthi by Madhav Prasad. We worship our heroes, and will troll anyone, especially if it is just an actress. Samantha was trolled by Mahesh Babu’s fans for her “provoking” statements (she said that the aforementioned movie poster was regressive, OMG! So provoking– http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/telugu/movies/news/Mahesh-Babus-fans-attack-Samantha-Sid/articleshow/27576545.cms).
When you read that the South Indian actresses are done with sexism, and are speaking out, well, not all actresses, just the Malayalam industry actresses (http://www.firstpost.com/entertainment/malayalam-actresses-form-a-collective-to-tackle-sexism-in-film-industry-will-kollywood-follow-suit-3470838.html). Given how precarious their position is in the industry ruled by demi-Gods called Chirnajeevi, Ramcharan, Nagarjuna, Balayya, Allu Arjun, Mahesh Babu, there is just nothing to be done. I empathize with the women, really. Not only is their “shelf-life” short, they must pander to the extremely fragile egos of these men who are comfortable with prancing around trees with girls less than half their age. I mean, have you watched Chiranjeevi dance with Kajal in the song ‘Kummudu’? Such cringeworthy moments! Eeks! I wanted to die, no I wanted Chiranjeevi to take a hard look at himself, and reflect on how heroines from his younger days have moved on to playing mothers and grandmothers, but this man is still romancing heroines who probably don’t have the choice to say no.
Of course, we live in times, when someone like Amitabh Bachchan says he loves working with Ram Gopal Verma, so I guess this should come as no surprise at all, eh?
So yes, the Telugu film industry is the ultimate site of patriarchy, sexism, and misogyny, and before you think oh she is just throwing words, please, read the damn article (I am looking at you, fan trolls).