Sri Reddy wants to start her own #MeToo movement in the Telugu film industry. On Monday morning, she went live on Facebook, stating that by outing the names of Tollywood actors and filmmakers, she wanted to warn up and coming women artistes so that they got a safe working environment. She also drew attention to the organised prostitution racket allegedly run by Kishan and his wife Chandra Kala Modugumudi, which came to light after the arrest of the Chicago-based couple, and said she was not revealing the names just for publicity.
The Telugu actress also said that she did not trust Tollywood bigwigs and president of the Tamil Film Producers Council (TFPC) Vishal Krishna, and asked him to address women with respect. She even mentioned the names of Allu Aravind and Pawan Kalyan. Silverscreen tried to get in touch with the actress, but she remained unavailable for comment.
So far, Sri Reddy has accused actors Nani, Raghava Lawrence, Sundeep Kishan and Srikanth, and directors AR Murugadoss and Sundar C.
While Nani and Murugadoss have decided to take legal action against the actress, a spokesperson for Vishal told Silverscreen, “Vishal has not had any contact with Sri Reddy. The claims are baseless.” Some others have maintained a studied silence, refusing to comment on the issue. Sundeep told Siverscreen that he did not want to dignify this with a response.
Raghava Lawrence too dismissed Sri’s claims and denied meeting the actress. “I have been speaking to the media non-stop about this since she announced my name. I have not been a part of the Telugu industry for the past five years as I have been busy with my own films. She is using my name for publicity, nothing more. The sad thing is, it is distracting everybody from the real issues affecting our country,” he said.
It all began in April this year after Sri Reddy almost stripped in front of Hyderabad’s Telugu Chamber of Commerce building, the headquarters of the Movie Artistes’ Association (MAA), to protest the practice of casting couch in the Telugu film industry. Since then, she has released a list of names and alleged that she was sexually exploited by them.
While industry folks have remained silent on the issue, with some even saying that she is doing this for publicity and to boost her acting career, activists in Hyderabad reached out to Sri Reddy soon after the revelations, offering help, but nothing concrete has materialised.
Tejaswini Madabhushi from ‘Hyderabad For Feminism’ was earlier quoted as saying that this was the first time people were seeing such a protest, and it has moved a lot of them. “Big heroes who are keeping quiet on the issue show that they are encouraging rape culture. If you don’t speak out, don’t make changes, it will give a message that the industry wants casting couch. The industry is only waiting and hoping that the phase will pass. But, this time, people are watching and industry will be judged by its action.”
No action has been taken so far. Sri Reddy’s allegations have been limited to Facebook and sporadic interviews with the media. While her intention can be appreciated, #Tamilleaks has so far achieved nothing substantial other than making for a sensational news break, every now and then.