At a press meet on Monday, Senior Telugu actor Hema suggested that she was unaware of the existence of actor Sri Reddy in the Telugu film industry. “I have acted in more than 300 films and I watch a lot of other films. And I did not recognize her (Sri Reddy) from any film. Only the media were able to identify her as an actor,” she said.
In the span of a month, things have changed drastically for Sri Reddy as far as her popularity is concerned. Her allegations of rampant sexual exploitation of struggling woman actors and the methods she deploys to grab everyone’s attention have been creating ripples across the nation. She has featured on primetime shows of major media outlets in the country, besides making headlines on international publications.
“Sri Reddy has become a national celebrity..People in Mumbai,who don’t even know Pawan Kalyan are talking about Sri Reddy,” tweeted controversial filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma.
Her bold moves to amplify the alleged sexual exploitation she had been subjected to by some big filmmakers have been met with severe backlash from the members of the Telugu film fraternity.
On Monday the members of Movie Artistes’ Association (MAA) met the media to condemn Reddy’s strip-protest, which she staged outside the Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce on Saturday. The way she protested has diverted the attention from the real problems against which she has been fighting.
Also read | Who is Sri Reddy?
The members of MAA chided her for ‘shameful’ behavior to garner ‘cheap publicity’ to bolster her ailing acting career. “With such behavior, who will give her the part of a sister or sister-in-law in films,” Hema, a well-known supporting actor in Telugu films, censured Sri Reddy.
Well, that’s the main complaint of Sri Reddy. The actor has been ruing that the majority of plum roles have been given to women actors from other states while depriving the opportunities for talent from Telugu states.
“Our association won’t encourage such persons. We will not give membership to her. Not only this, all of our 800 members will not work along with her,” said MAA President Sivaji Raja in no uncertain terms. He slammed her for talking to the media, instead of first going to MAA. Terming her actions as ‘cheap publicity’, Sivaji warned, “The members who collaborate with her will risk losing their MAA membership.”
He said if Sri Reddy is given the membership, it will set a bad example for others. “Tomorrow even others will strip their clothes demanding MAA membership. We can’t allow this,” he said.
According to MAA officer bearers, Sri Reddy’s membership request was rejected as she did not fill up her applications properly. However, Sri Reddy had alleged that she was denied membership as she started speaking publicly about the dark side of the showbiz.
Sivaji admitted that as Sri Reddy pointed out the association was yet to constitute the Committee against Sexual Harassment (CASH) to deal with issues raised by women artistes.
“We are in talks with our lawyers regarding the legal procedure and the committee will be set up. Until then, we are always here for women and they can feel free to approach us with any concerns they may have,” Sivaji was quoted by Times of India
On Sunday, she also took to social media claiming that she has been asked to vacate her house by her landlord. “My owner called me and told to vacate my house,what a great people..he is working as an ias ..such a narrow minded people..U dnt even imagine how rude talking..Big people game started..(sic),” she posted.
Sri Reddy has vowed not to back off from the protest even it means continuing her fight alone. The actor said she will step up her efforts to make the governments of Telugu states take notice of the problems that the women in the film industry face.
She has alleged many filmmakers don’t give roles to actors even after giving in to their demands.
She has said she is even ready to kill herself in front of the Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce if her demands were not met.
Sri Reddy’s primary demands:
- About 75 percent of female lead roles in films should be given to actors from Telugu states.
- A special committee of women should be set up to take up issues of female actors.
- The members of eunuch community should get a proper representation in Telugu films.
Sri Reddy has been threatening to name and shame the big shots of Telugu cinema who sexually harassed her. She alleged that popular director Sekhar Kammula used to stalk her. And recently she claimed a son of powerful film producer sexually abused her in a studio owned by the government.
Sri Reddy has claimed she has given all the proof to back her allegations to a TV channel for it to broadcast, should anything happen to her.