The controversy around the latest project announced by filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma, titled 'Lakshmi's NTR', is refusing to die down.
The filmmaker has been facing flak for his decision to narrate the film from the stand point of NTR's second wife Lakshmi Parvathi, instead of directing it from NTR's perspective.
This idea has been met with much resistance, as it was Lakshmi's 'growing influence' in party affairs, that had led several TDP leaders to stage a coup, and oust their party founder.
Joining a long list of TDP leaders and others who opposed the film, actor Vani Vishwanath, who had acted with legendary actor and former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao (NTR), also urged RGV to drop his plan.
Speaking to K Umashanker of The Hindu, Vishwanath said, “I feel it genuine to request Ram Gopal Varma to drop the project. NTR’s life is just not ordinary, and it is linked with the ocean of his fans. The image of NTR would just conjure up Lord Rama and Lord Krishna in the minds of crores of Telugu people and his admirers all over India and world. He is history himself, having ushered in an epoch in the film world and politics as well. I feel the film, targeting NTR personally, would damage his image, and also hurt the sentiments of his fans."
"If he goes ahead with it, and if any damage is done to NTR’s image, I would be in the forefront of protest against RGV, right in front of his house, along with the fans,” she added.
This comes a day after TDP MLA Anitha told mediapersons, "Varma should not misinterpret history in NTR movie. If there is any content with denigrates NTR fans, then TDP workers and cadre will not keep quiet."
Pointing out that Chittoor district YSRCP leader, P Rakesh Reddy, is producing the film, the Payakaraopet legislator also alleged that this was a 'plot' by the Opposition party, to take on Andhra Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.
"We should only talk about the good things in a person, when great people are concerned," she added.
However, Varma has hit back, and even denied allegations that the YSRCP was funding the project with a motive.
“I have never been associated with any political party or ideology and so I will be partial only to the truth of the matter and, with regard to the producer Rakesh Reddy, it’s only a coincidence that he happened to be a leader in the YSRCP,” Varma told Hindustan Times.
In the last week of September, RGV released the first look poster of the upcoming Telugu film.
In July, Varma announced his desire to make a biopic on NTR.
In an emotional voice note shared with IANS, he had said: "NTR is a name to reckon with every Telugu-speaking individual. He was not just a great actor but a leader with unprecedented following. I'm very proud to direct a film on his life."
The poster focuses on a dejected and lost looking NTR's face juxtaposed with the high brightness on Lakshmi's (widow of NTR) feet entering into his life.
"One single step that created love in the heart of one man but also hatred in hundreds. But that single step also re-motivated him to once again make millions of people love him. This is the story of 'Lakshmi's NTR'," Varma wrote.
"It's a love story full of hatred, jealousy, power mongering, backstabbing and above all unbelievable inter-relationship conflicts," he added.
NTR had married Parvathi, his biographer, just before the 1994 elections, which saw TDP returning to power in the state.
However, her growing interference in party affairs and administration led to Naidu staging a revolt in August 1995. He became Chief Minister with the support of NTR's sons.
NTR had launched a campaign against Naidu for 'backstabbing'. He died in January 1996 at the age of 72.