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Nandamuri Balakrishna Says He Does Not Know AR Rahman, Compares Bharat Ratna to NTR’s Toenail

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Balakrishna at Gautamiputra Satakarni Audio Launch

Nandamuri Balakrishna, the Telugu actor and politician, found himself caught in controversy on Wednesday after his comments on music composer AR Rahman and the Bharat Ratna award during an interview with a Telugu news channel received severe backlash.

The comments on Rahman were made by the 61-year-old actor when he was talking about his 1991 science fiction film Aditya 369, and its music, composed by Ilaiyaraaja. The actor said that the film’s music was different from Ilaiyaraaja’s signature style due to which many were not aware that the veteran composer was behind the film’s music. Balakrishna said during the interview that he is currently writing and directing a sequel to Aditya 369. Balakrishna then, drew a comparison between Ilaiyaraaja and Rahman and said “I don’t know who AR Rahman is and I don’t acknowledge him. He gives a hit once in ten years and gets an Oscar for that,” he said.

Rahman has previously scored the background music for Balakrishna’s 1993 action film Nippu Ravva.

The actor, who is the son of late actor-politician NT Rama Rao and has acted in over 100 films, further said that he does not care about India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna. “It is equivalent to NTR’s toenail. It’s an honour for the people who give it to him but for him, it is nothing,” he added.

Towards the end of the interview, Balakrishna also compared himself to celebrated Hollywood filmmaker James Cameron and said that unlike Cameron, he does not work on films for years together, but instead concentrates on making more films and turning them into successes.

Balakrishna’s comments soon got the attention of social media users who began to troll the actor and trended  the hashtag #WhoIsBalakrishna.

One social media user wrote, “How can a senior actor like Balakrishna talk about Indian legend ARRahman? Will people accept if a similar thing is being spoken by a Tamil actor on Rajamouli?”

Another user, in reply to the above tweet, said even Telugu people condemn the actor’s statement, and added, “Irony is that Rahman did the music for Balakrishna movie Nippu Ravva in 1993.”

Yet another user called Balakrishna “South India’s first and finest nepotism product.”

However, ardent fans of the actor, using the same hashtag, expressed their solidarity with Balakrishna and highlighted the good deeds done by him.

On the work front, Balakrishna, who was last seen in the action film Ruler (2019), will next collaborate with filmmaker Gopichand Malineni for a film tentatively referred to as NBK 107. He also has Akhanda, an action film with director Boyapati Srinu, in the pipeline.

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