Pawan Kalyan, the Telugu actor and politician, speaking at the pre-release event of his nephew and actor Sai Dharam Tej’s upcoming film Republic, on Saturday, said the latter is still in a coma after meeting with an accident earlier this month.
Republic is set to release in theatres on October 1.
On September 10, Tej met with a bike accident and the actor is currently admitted to a private hospital in Hyderabad. As per the hospital’s earlier statements, Tej’s condition is stable and improving after successfully undergoing a procedure for collar bone fracture. The Cyberabad police of Telangana, meanwhile, have booked Tej for negligence in driving and over speeding.
While Silverscreen India had learned through reliable sources that the actor is conscious, recovering well, off the ventilator, and has been moved to a normal ward from ICU, Pawan Kalyan’s statement on Saturday contradicts this. Kalyan also expressed his displeasure over the media coverage of Tej’s accident. “The media has said that he violated speed limits. He overtook an auto and was driving at 30-40 kmph. The media shouldn’t be talking about him. He is still in coma and has not opened his eyes. Speak about political crimes, not about cinema people,” he said.
Pawan Kalyan did not limit himself to discussing Tej’s accident at the event. He also lashed out at the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy-led Andhra Pradesh government for not supporting the film industry that is reeling under the pandemic.
It is notable that the AP government earlier permitted reopening of theatres with 50% occupancy and capped ticket prices. The state government is also preparing to launch an online ticketing system that will regulate prices and check tax evasion.
Kalyan objected to this proposed government regulation of the ticket prices. Pointing out that the members of the film industry are some of the highest taxpayers of the nation, he said they should not be bullied by the government. The actor called the industry a “soft target” and noted that there are over one lakh people dependent on it.
Actors Nani and Kartikeya came out in support of Pawan Kalyan on Sunday and requested the Andhra Pradesh government to address the issues he raised. Nani tweeted saying that the political differences between Pawan Kalyan and the AP Government aside, the issues are genuine and need immediate attention and requested the concerned ministers to look into them.
Kartikeya wrote, “Not supporting or being against any political party but the issues addressed by Pawan Kalyan sir with respect to Telugu Film industry totally makes sense.” He further said that being part of the industry, he felt it was his responsibility to support Kalyan, who spoke on behalf of all of them.
However, the Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce, a body which is common to both the Telugu states, distanced itself from Pawan Kalyan’s statements. The TFCC issued a statement observing that the chief ministers of both states have been “proactive” and extended “encouragement and support” to them. “Various individuals have expressed their views, opinions and anguish on different platforms. These are not the voices of the industry as a whole. We have always been supported by our governments over the years,” the statement added. It also thanked Reddy’s government for “understanding and positively responding” to their concerns and assuring that they will be addressed favourably in the future.
While Reddy has not commented on the issue, various ministers of the state have condemned Pawan Kalyan’s statements. According to Deccan Chronicle, I&PR Minister Venkatramaiah said it was the film industry that requested the government to implement online ticket sales and its members had met with him recently to discuss the same. Botsa Satyanarayana, the minister for Municipal Administration and Urban Development, questioned the reason behind the actor’s outburst and warned him against passing derogatory comments about the chief minister.
Founder of the Jana Sena party, Pawan Kalyan had contested in the 2019 Andhra Pradesh assembly elections in which the YSR Congress party recorded a landslide victory. He lost both the assembly seats he contested in and his party won only one out of the 175 seats.