Top Telugu film stars openly fought among themselves at a programme to launch the 2020 diary of Movie Artists Association (MAA) today morning. An argument broke out between actors K Chiranjeevi and V Rajashekar after Chiranjeevi, who is the founding president of MAA, said in his speech that differences of opinion among MAA members should be sorted out peacefully, without making the issues public or creating controversies. Immediately, Rajashekar, a veteran of over 70 movies, and executive vice-president of MAA, snatched the microphone from actor-screenwriter Paruchuri Gopala Krishna and launched into a tirade and asked why members should not express their opinions freely.
“If there are small fires in MAA, efforts should be made to put them out immediately instead of allowing them to grow bigger. If there are differences of opinion among the members, they should be discussed and addressed instead of being told to keep quiet. In films, we as heroes speak out against issues. In real life, why should we keep quiet? The problems I am having in MAA are causing problems within my family, and I also met with a car accident recently due to the tensions in MAA,” Rajashekar said before storming out of the function held at a five-star hotel.
His actions left actors Chiranjeevi, M Mohan Babu, Jayasudha Kapoor, M Murli Mohan, U Krishnam Raju, and top producer T. Subbarami Reddy fuming on the stage. While Mohan Babu and Jayasudha objected to Rajashekar snatching the microphone and speaking out of turn, others tried to stop him from airing his views. Reacting to Rajashekar’s tirade, Chiranjeevi accused him of unnecessarily creating problems. “It was a well-planned attempt to disrupt the proceedings. If MAA has a disciplinary committee, it should take action him,” he said.
Rajashekar’s wife, actress Jeevitha later apologised on behalf of her husband.
Tensions have been simmering in MAA after the elections held in March last year. Actor V K Naresh, who was supported by Chiranjeevi and other actors, was elected president, while Rajashekar became executive vice-president and his wife Jeevitha won as general secretary. Since then, MAA has been split into two groups led by Naresh and Rajashekar, and there have been frequent showdowns over running the affairs in MAA. Last October, the two groups indulged in a war of words after Rajashekar and Jeevitha called MAA executive committee members for an informal meeting at the Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce without informing president Naresh. The couple accused Naresh of mismanaging MAA and taking decisions without consulting others. They also accused Naresh of misappropriating funds raised through events, and have demanded his resignation.
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