It looks like movie functions have become breeding grounds for controversy. At the audio release of Rarandoi Veduka Chuddam that was held yesterday, veteran comedian/villain Chalapathi Rao made a demeaning statement about women. The film’s trailer which ends with the line “Ammailu manashanthi ki haanikaram” (women are detrimental to peace of mind) led to a lot of banter with the guests. The anchor Geetha went on to ask if Chalapathi Rao agreed with the dialogue. He said, “They are not; they are useful in bed.” While this resulted in some laughter, the anchor switched the topic. Unbeknownst to them though, all hell broke loose on the internet before the event even ended.
Netizens took to twitter and facebook to condemn Chalapathi Rao’s statements. The senior actor himself got plenty of hatred, while even those who laughed at the ‘joke’, including television anchor Ravi and Naga Chaitanya, weren’t spared. Actress Rakul Preet, part of the event, didn’t really react to the statement.
Lyricist Ramajogayya Sastry was among those who expressed outrage on Twitter. He asked for Chalapathi Rao to take back his words and apologise. He ended his tweet with the catchy hashtag, #SaySorry2Naari. It didn’t take long at all before it began trending.
This issue blew up last night, and resulted in plenty of explanations this morning from the parties concerned. Nagarjuna did not hold back as he posted, “I always respect women personally and in my films/I definitely do not agree with Chalapathi Rao's derogatory comments!!” Next was Rakul who went on record to state: “Such a senior member of the Telugu film fraternity must know his age and behave accordingly”. The statement she posted also said, “Beginners, most of the times, choose to remain silent out of respect for the seniors, but this occasion cannot be one of those and such seniors should also know where to draw the line in scenarios like this.” Naga Chaitanya quickly followed suit when he said, “Respecting women is a way of life for me. The reactions shown on TV weren't for the statement made. Do I agree with it? Absolutely NOT!” Rakul also backed her co-star up with a tweet, “For people who think @chay_akkineni and I were laughing at those comments, telecast happens at a 5 mins lag n those reactions were not for it.”
Chalapathi Rao eventually took to media and his own Facebook handle to issue what he said he considers to be an apology. In a two-and a half minute rant, he went on to say that his statements were taken in “double meaning” and that by “pakkalo padukotanki” he meant that they weren’t so detrimental as to stop men from taking them to bed. He ended the live stream by saying he was sorry if he hurt anybody’s sentiments. He apologised for hurt sentiments but not for his hurtful statements. It remains to be seen if his rather ineffective apology puts the controversy to bed.