Days after Telugu actor Pawan Kalyan lashed out at the Jagan Mohan Reddy-led Andhra Pradesh government for not supporting the film industry that is reeling under the pandemic, top Telugu film producers met with Perni Venkataramaiah, Minister of Transport and I&PR, in Machilipatnam, on Wednesday, to clear the air.
Producers such as Dil Raju, Sunil Narang, Bunny Vasu, and Naveen Yerneni met Perni and discussed issues pertaining to the film industry.
While it was a closed-door meeting, Dil Raju addressed the media later. He said, “We had met with the Chief Minister at the beginning of the pandemic about our problems and he had directed concerned officials to meet our needs. Cinema industry is very delicate and we have been the first to be affected. We request you to not to make a controversy out of this since cinema is very sensitive at the moment.”
Raju also mentioned that both the AP and Telangana state governments have been supportive of their concerns.
On Sunday, while attending the pre-release event of his nephew and actor Sai Dharam Tej’s upcoming film Republic, Pawan Kalyan had called out the AP government for its proposed regulation of the ticket prices. The actor, who is also the founder of the Jana Sena political party, had said that the members of the film industry are some of the highest taxpayers of the nation, and they should not be bullied by the government. Pawan called the industry a “soft target” and pointed out that there are over one lakh people dependent on it.
It is also to be noted that theatres in the state are currently functioning with only 50% occupancy.
While actors like Nani and Kartikeya expressed their support for the issues raised by Pawan Kalyan, the Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce disassociated itself from his remarks. “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 organisation said in a statement.
Likewise, Republic’s director, Deva Katta, also distanced his film from Pawan Kalyan’s comments. In an interview to Indian Express, he said, “Whatever he said on the stage was his viewpoint on different issues. We are not associating Republic with his opinions. My movie is completely neutral on political angles.”
Actor-screenwriter Posani Krishna Murali slammed Pawan Kalyan’s speech at a press meet recently, and was attacked by the actor’s fans. The writer told the media that he would file a police complaint against Pawan Kalyan over the incident.
Meanwhile, on the same day that the producers met with the minister, Pawan Kalyan while delivered a speech, in which he said, “I don’t mind if my films get affected. But of late, many people are sobbing to me that the government is interfering in the occupancy and pricing of the tickets. This is why I want to speak about the issue.”