Director SS Rajamouli has been accused of using a casteist slur in the recently released Baahubali, The Conclusion by the Telangana-based Arekatika Porata Samithi, reports the News Minute.
Members of the Arekatika Porata Samithi reportedly filed a police complaint against Rajamouli at the Banjara Hills police station for portraying their community in a bad light. The group took issue with one scene in which Katappa says “Katika Cheekati,” which the group claims is a caste slur. The group has also appealed to the censor board to remove the word “Katika” from the film.
However, a police officer at the Banjara Hills told the News Minute that no complaint had been filed as yet.
The Telangana and Andhra Pradesh governments recognise the Katika or the Arekatika community under the Backward Class (BC) category.
The complaint reads, “We Katika people indulge in the trade of butchery, to sell meat of goats, sheep and hens, to provide healthy food to the society, as part of our livelihood. We are not harsh, inhuman and anti-social people as the movies try to portray us.”
The group further alleged that their children have suffered more for being portrayed like this, and asked the censor board to immediately remove “Katika” from the film.
“We have become a synonym for any anti-social activities. Even in schools and colleges, our children are facing social stigma,” the complaint reads.
In light of this, one of Rajamouli’s old Facebook posts has been circulating. In the post, Rajamouli gives an alternative definition to the caste system, where he equates dependency, selfishness and other negative traits to the historically oppressed castes, while identifying generosity and wisdom to the traditionally privileged castes.
While some have excused the post on the grounds that it is five years old, others see it as typical of Rajamouli’s casteism, and describe the film itself as reeking of “Aryan supremacy” where fair-skinned heroes defeat dark-skinned “tribal savages”.
Baahubali 2 is a sequel to Baahubali, The Beginning (2015), and released two years after the first film. The movie stars Prabhas, Rana Dagubbati, Anushka Shetty, Tamannaah Bhatia, Sathyaraj, Ramya Krishan, Nasser, and Rohini. It is currently reigning over most box-offices, and has reportedly exceeded Rs 500 crores since its release.