Actor Pooja Hegde on Tuesday issued a clarification after she faced backlash on social media over an interview with journalist and film critic Anupama Chopra in which she had said that the South film industries have an “obsession with navels and midriffs”.
In her statement, the actor said that her comments were misinterpreted and that she was forever indebted to the Telugu film industry.
“Yes, Allu Arjun’s character is obsessed with my legs in the film. But after pointing it out to Trivikram about how it could come across, he added scenes where she punishes him for being so blatant about it. She also makes him see the error of his ways, but not everyone could grasp that. But of course, objectification is never okay!” Hegde said while talking about a scene from her recent film Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo with Allu Arjun.
“Things I said in a recent interview are being misinterpreted. The things I said can be twisted but the love I have for Tollywood cannot be. Telugu film industry has always been vital for me. This is even known to my fans who love my movies. I always say I will never give in to misunderstandings but I will still reinstate, I will forever be indebted to the Telugu film industry,” she said in the statement.
This is not the first time an actor has been called out for standing up against the objectification of women. In 2017, actor Taapsee Pannu was forced to issue a similar clarification following a backlash against her comments on Telugu filmmaker Raghavendra Rao’s “obsession” with women’s midriffs, during an interaction on a YouTube channel.
Talking about Rao, Pannu had said: “The director, who launched me, is known to show the sensuality of a woman by showing the midriff and throwing fruits and flowers on the midriff. My turn came, and maybe because I was not prepared as I told you, they threw a coconut at me! I don’t know what’s sensuous about a coconut hitting my midriff.”
After facing severe backlash, the actor uploaded a video, saying: “It is not in my upbringing that I will hurt anyone who has been such an important part of my journey. Raghavendra Rao garu is the reason I am here in the industry in the first place, and I can never forget that. It is just strange how everyone alleged that I insulted him, but I did not, I will never. So, I really want to apologise if I have hurt anyone’s sentiment. But trust me, I did not intend to.”