Jayasudha, Rajendra Prasad fight it out

  • MAA elections reflect group politics in Tollywood
  • TDP MP Murali Mohan behind drama
  • Groups trade charges
  • Voting on March 29

Hyderabad: Tollywood is torn into two camps thanks to the election to the Movie Artists Association (MAA) polling for which would be held on March 29. Senior actor Jayasudha is pitted against famous comedian Rajendra Prasad. The atmosphere is getting hotter by the day with both the camps holding media meets and criticizing each other in no uncertain terms.

Jayasudha told the media the other day that she has been in the film industry for more than 43 years and she is the senior most in the industry and has every eligibility to aspire to be president of the organization. MAA has about 750 members and it has a good profile thanks to the present president Murali Mohan who is also a TDP Member of Parliament representing Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh. Rajendra Prasad has been hoping to head MAA for many years and he sounded Murali Mohan earlier this month about his intention to become the head of the organization. Murali Mohan was understood to have approved his candidature but turned around later and encouraged Jayasudha to contest for the position.

There have been groups in Telugu film industry as is the case with Tamil and Hindi film industries. But the groups have been quarreling behind the scene. It is for the first time that they have locked themselves in a contest. The rivalry has come into the open as allegations are being freely traded. Rajendra Prasad has mounted a direct attack on Murali Mohan for playing politics and for commenting that his stature is not fit to be president of MAA. Rajendra Prasad in turn questioned the stature of Murali Mohan as an actor. “He may be a politician and an MP. But what is his stature as an actor?” , asked Rajendra Prasad.

The group rivalry has come out in sharp focus after Nagababu, brother of Mega Star Chiranjeevi, publicly threw his weight behind Rajendra Prasad. It is well known that there are two distinct groups in Tollywood, one headed by famous director Dasari Narayan Rao and the other by Chiranjeevi. Jayasudha has the solid support of Dasari and his disciple Manchu Mohan Babu, whose daughter Manchu Laxmi is on Jayasudha’s panel. The Murali Mohan group has alleged that Rajendra Prasad group has been distributing mobile phones to the members. This was rejected outright by Rajendra Prasad.

Talking to various news channels, Nagababu has said that he has nothing against Jayasudha. Murali Mohan should have told Rajendra Prasas that he would not support him.  Had he done so Rajendra Prasad might have dropped the idea of a contest. Having encouraged him to contest, it is wrong on the part of the TDP MP to ask Jayasudha to file nomination papers. Jayasudha, on her part, has appealed to the members to support her so that a woman would become president of MAA for the first time.

Rajendra Prasad said he is a popular actor and former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao used to watch his movies for relaxation. He said he has every right to contest. He promised the members that he would mobilize funds to set up Rs 5 crore as corpus fund. He also promised that he would strive to organize medical insurance and pensions for the poor film artists.

As both groups are equally strong, the contest is going to be very close. It is a funny situation as the TDP MP  is supporting a former Congress MLA Jayasudha and a Congress MP’s (Chiranjeevi’s) family is behind a TDP supporter, Rajendra Prasad.  It is the common refrain that Murali Mohan is not prepared to loosen his grip on MAA. He wants to have Jayasudha elected so that he can control the reins. The coming Sunday is going to be a very big day for cricket lovers and cinema goers. The World Cup final and the MAA elections are two events to be looked forward to.

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