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Nagarjuna Akkineni, Naga Chaitanya respond to accusation that Telugu cinema is ‘sexist’ and glorifies ‘stalking’

Father-son actor duo Nagarjuna Akkineni and Naga Chaitnanya spoke about the perceived sexist nature of many Telugu films.

By: Entertainment Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: January 11, 2022 12:37:29 pm
bangarraju nagarjuna naga chaitanyaBangarraju stars Nagarjuna Akkineni and Naga Chaitanya.

Nagarjuna Akkineni and his son, Naga Chaitanya, said that Telugu cinema might appear to be sexist in nature to some audiences because a lot is lost in translation. In an interview with Film Companion, Nagarjuna said that because so many songs are translated literally, the essence of their meaning is lost. He said a similar situation would happen when Punjabi songs get literal translations.

In the interview, host Anupama Chopra said that while Telugu cinema has evolved massively in recent years, a ‘soft spot’ is the portrayal of women. Citing the example of a recent news article, she asked Nagarjuna and Chaitanya, whom she described as ‘two leading men with massive clout in the business’, about why the lyrics of songs in Telugu cinema could be perceived as ‘sexist’ and as ‘promoting stalking as romance’.

“Telugu language is such, if you translate it literally into English, it is going to look very, very sexist,” Nagarjuna said, adding that he has ‘tried to analyse this’ with many people. Citing the example of his upcoming film Bangarraju, he said that most of the songs in it have come from folklore, but if they were to be translated literally, it would alter their true meaning. He admitted that many films can reasonably be accused of being sexist, because ‘the world is not a perfect place’. He offered to ‘break down’ the true meaning of songs, and said that things have changed in recent years.

“In the next five to ten years, you need equally strong woman character now. Without that, it’s not going to work because of the woman power rising. They are asking questions, which is fantastic. This is what I noticed in early 60s and 70s. My father’s films had incredibly strong male and female characters, which I feel is going to come back,” the actor said. Nagarjuna is the son of Akkineni Nageshwara Rao (ANR), whose career spanned over seven decades.

Chaitanya said that he will put his foot down if asked to ‘portray something wrong about women or society’. As an actor, Nagarjuna said, he absolutely agrees with his son, but ‘boundaries change for different people’.

Besides Bangarraju, Nagarjuna will also be seen in Bollywood film Brahmastra, in which he stars alongside Amitabh Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt.

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