Nandi Fiasco – Nara Lokesh’s intolerance to criticism

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Nara Lokesh, son of AP Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and Minister for Panchayat Raj and Rural Development, has waded into a needless controversy by calling Tollywood personalities ‘non-resident Andhras.’ The phrase NRAs sounds good but it is not music to ears of lakhs of Andhras residing in Hyderabad.

His reaction (or is it outburst?) is the outcome of widespread criticism of AP State film awards, given recently to Telugu movies, actors, actresses, etc. The Nandi awards have kicked up a row in the Telugu film fraternity as well as among the people and critics. How could one movie, Legend, corner all the awards is the common refrain.

Even before the storm calmed down – some award winners have threatened to return — Lokesh, obviously piqued by the adverse media coverage and disparaging remarks, let his anger out. That too, in a rustic way. His tone and tenor must have ruffled a few feathers in the Telugu film industry. Sample this press report: “Some people fly from Hyderabad, stay here (AP) for half a day and run away…They don’t have a moral right to criticise the state government’s selection of film personalities for Nandi awards.”

He further said, “Those sitting in Hyderabad are criticising the government, but they have no stakes in the state.” Did he mean that only those with AP ration cards or voter cards can criticize the TDP government and nobody else?

It’s an undisputable fact that the whole Telugu media and the entertainment industry are concentrated in Hyderabad. Leading producers and directors, though all of them are from Andhra, are based here. And, thankfully, so far, none has coined the word NRA and the credit goes to Lokesh.

Film industry can’t develop overnight, or in a few years’ time. He should have been aware that in the composite State of Madras, that city was the epicentre of South Indian cinema and cradle for cine artistes, actors, directors, producers and even lighting boys. His grandfather NTR too walked into fame from baby steps he took in Madras. Only after NTR became the chief minister of united Andhra Pradesh, he initiated efforts to move the Telugu film industry from Madras to Hyderabad, offering a lot of incentives.

Over a period of time, seaside Visakhapatnam and touted ultramodern Amaravati can become ‘film cities.’ Just because Nandi awards are being criticised, an AP minister calling compatriots living in Hyderabad non-resident Andhras is ridiculous. His remarks only show his level of intolerance to criticism.

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