Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut defended Telugu superstar Mahesh Babu's statements that Bollywood cannot afford him, claiming the actor was merely expressing "respect" for his industry and his views should not be turned into a controversy.
When asked to react to Babu's comments during the film ‘Dhaakad’s’ trailer release, Ranaut said "He was correct that Bollywood can't afford him, and I agree. Many directors have approached him, I know for a fact”, according to a report by Times of India.
The Telugu actor's remarks during a promotional event for his film ‘Major’ in Hyderabad recently sparked a social media firestorm.
He had said at the time, "I may sound arrogant, but I did get a lot of offers in Hindi. But I think they can't afford me. I don't want to waste my time. The stardom and love I have here in Telugu cinema, I never thought of going to another industry.”
Later, the actor said that he appreciates all languages but is content with his place in Telugu cinema.
Babu, according to Ranaut, was merely reporting facts. "His generation has singlehandedly made the Telugu industry the number one film industry in India. Now, Bollywood definitely can't afford him. I don't see why this should be made into a huge controversy," Ranaut remarked.
The actor said that she did not know why Babu made such statements, but she and many others had frequently joked that "Hollywood can't afford us."
"He has only shown a lot of respect towards his industry and we can't deny that Telugu films have grown in the last 10-15 years... They didn't get anything on a platter. We only have lots to learn from them "She added.
The actor said that she did not want to bring up the language barrier between the two sectors again yet she said "the country has many languages and they are all important. No language is bigger or smaller than the other ."
When asked if ‘Dhaakad' will be a response to pan-India successes from South cinema, Ranaut responded, "I don't think I have come here to reply on this."
Referring to herself as “the biggest cheerleader of South Indian cinema” Ranaut said "I was the first one to start this topic that our regional cinema should do well. If there is something we must do together, it is to save our screens from Hollywood.”
She believes that the Indian film industry should be wary of Hollywood.
"If necessary, we must protect ourselves from Hollywood. We are not required to fight amongst ourselves. We must encourage South, Malayalam, Kannada, and Punjabi movies. And, in terms of responding to South cinema, why should we respond to our own people? We shouldn't be afraid of South cinema; we should be afraid of the American film industry "She said.
‘Dhaakad,' which also stars Bollywood actors Arjun Rampal and Divya Dutta, will be released on May 20.