The Telugu film industry has always proved that it has a heart of gold when it comes to helping the two states in its dire hours, be it the pandemic, floods or any other crisis where their presence can bring about a difference. Several celebrities have gone out of the way many times to aid those in need and earned immense goodwill from the crowds. However, the same can’t be told about the industry’s response to issues and concerns of national interest, where it appears as if they simply don’t care about it at all. The farmer’s agitation being one example.
Several heroes in our films preach lengthy dialogues about the importance of agriculture and farming in our lives, but all those heroics are apparently only limited to the screen. Over the past few days, several users in social media have been extremely critical of Tollywood’s stoic silence over the farmer’s agitation and the outrage surrounding activist Greta Thunberg and pop icon Rihanna’s tweets about the same.
In particular, Mahesh Babu has been trolled for talking like a torchbearer of agriculture in a film like Maharshi and adopting villages in the time of Srimanthudu and not having a single word to say about a national issue that lakhs are protesting for. Similarly, Chiranjeevi’s Khaidi No 150 was based on farmer suicides too and has been part of films where he’s helped build dams for villages. Even he hasn’t had anything to tell about the issue. This is the same industry where some of the actors have put out tweets saying ‘Black lives matter’ in a recent issue of cop mistreating the blacks in the US.
Mahesh Babu literally acted in a movie where he talked about farmers issues and made money out of it but has nothing to speak about the ongoing #FarmersProtest in the country. For once be a Maharshi in real life too.— Social Experiment (@GoneWorse) February 3, 2021
One may ask what’s the connection between films and national issues? Well, artistes keep uttering lines like theirs is a ‘message-driven’ film and the audiences need to be aware of social issues during the promotion of their films. Films hugely influence crowds in the country and actors must be wary of the message they’re endorsing through them. Ours is an industry where there’s a thin line between the reel and the real. Tollywood has time and again played safe when they need to take a stance about issues fearing it’ll affect their work. They’re always ready to plant saplings for Haritha Haaram over standing up for a cause they believe in.
There are rumours rife that Telugu actors too may fall prey to the #IndiaTogether tweets promoted by the Indian government in a bid to silence protesters and dissent on social media. It’s high time Tollywood shows some spine off-screen too.