Khaidi No 150 Vs Satakarni
- Caste, political fight goes to silver screen
Amaravati: The Andhra Pradesh is set for a different cock fight this Pongal season. The fight is set in both political and cultural arenas of the State raising the temperature levels in the winter. The war is between two social communities, or castes, in the State. As the political fight is seen on the streets, the culture fight is set to be watched on big screens as two mega films featuring heroes of these two castes are being released in a span of 24 hours.
Chiranjeevi’s Khaidi No 150 and Balakrishna’s Gouthamiputra Satakarni are set to hit the silver screen advancing the summer this season. While Chiranjeevi’s film is about the social issue of farmers, Balakrishna has come out with the historical story of the Satavahana Empire.
The two castes – Kamma and Kapu – are locked in a big fight in the State for the past two years with Kapus taking to warpath against the Kamma-dominated government, mounting pressure to extend Backward Class status for them. The Kamma-dominated Telugu Desam Party had promised, among other things, BC status to the Kapus during the 2014 elections.
After assuming power, the TDP has remained silent on its promise giving a chance to Kapu leaders to take to the streets. Former minister Mudragada Padmanabham, who is considered one of the great leaders of the Kapu community, is on a warpath now against the government. Time and again, the Kapus have been telling the government that they were only asking for implementation of what was promised to them. They do have a justification in pushing forward their demand as the two Kapu-dominated Godavari districts have voted for the TDP in full strength, thus ensuring Chandrababu’s victory over the rival YSR Congress.
The war is getting tough with the two castes locking horns over the issue. While the Kapus insist on fulfilling the promise by giving BC status to them, the government (dominated by Kammas) claims that the process has already been started with the creation of Justice Manjunatha Commission and it would take time to complete the process. The TDP government also accuses the opposition YSR Congress of instigating the Kapus to fight against the government.
The culture fight is set to be unfolded on the silver screen with Chiranjeevi’s film on farmers’ cause and Balakrishna’s film on the past glory. The two leaders, representing these two dominant castes, have a good number of followers, ironically divided on the caste lines. While Chiranjeevi enjoys greater support from among his Kapu youth, Balakrishna rules his Kamma youth, often the two groups indulging in street fights in the two Godavari districts and parts of Krishna and Guntur districts.
The fans of the two heroes are now on the war field like roosters ready for fight. The courts have already banned the cock fights this year too, though there would be more in the remote areas of the coastal districts, the real or the reel fight is all set to unfold at the film theaters. The youth are ready with banners to be tied everywhere and in every center leading to clashes. They would also be fighting in the social media with the two groups launching campaign against each other rather than promoting their own leader.
This ugly fight is unfolding after 10 years in the State. The last such fight between the fans of the two heroes was seen in 2004 when Chiranjeevi’s Anji and Balakrishna’s Lakshminarasimha were released for the Pongal. Similar unpleasant battles were witnessed in the State during the release of Chiranjeevi’s Dongamogudu and Balakrishna’s Bhargavaramudu in 1987; Manchidonga and Inspector Pratap in 1988; Atthaku Yamudu – Ammayiki Mogudu and Bhale Donga in 1989; Hitler and Peddannayya in 1997; Annayya and Vamsoddharakudu in 2000 and Mrugaraju and Narasimhanaidu in 2001.
This time again, though the two heroes have asked their fans to be cool, the situation is not so cool. While Khaidi No 150 released on January 11 all over the world, Gouthamiputra Satakarni is releasing the next day. Tough time for cops, indeed.