BALAKRISHNA

Telugu star and MLA Nandamuri Balakrishna. (photo via IANS)

HYDERABAD — Netizens had a field day July 21, after an interview of Telugu star and MLA Nandamuri Balakrishna went viral. In the interview, the actor says he doesn't know who Oscar-winning music composer AR Rahman is, and adds that Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, is equal to the "toenail" of his father, late actor-politician NT Rama Rao.

"I don't know who AR Rahman is. He won an Oscar and I don't even know who he is. He gives a hit once in a decade," said Balakrishna, in an interview to the channel TV9.

Rahman, incidentally, had composed the background score of Balakrishna's 1993 film, "Nippu Ravva.”

Speaking about Bharat Ratna, the actor, also known as Ballaya to fans, said: "I feel that Bharat Ratna is equal to my father's toenail. No award can compensate for the contribution of my family to Tollywood. So, only the awards should feel bad. Not my family or my father."

Soon, a Twitter war erupted, with Rahman fans mercilessly posting memes, and hashtag #whoisbalakrishna started trending.

A fan tweeted: "How can a senior actor like Balakrishna talk about Indian legend AR Rahman? Will people accept if a similar thing is being spoken by a Tamil actor on Rajamouli?"

Soon, Balakrishna's fans were out defending him, saying he was a hero of the masses and a charitable personality.

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