Tollywood is not new to online trolling and its latest victim is comedian Manoj Prabakar, who has drawn the ire of self-proclaimed Mahesh Babu fans. This, after a video of the popular Tamil stand-up comedian mocking the star’s acting skills in the movie Spyder went viral across social media platforms.
The one-hour video is a mock award show and begins with a disclaimer. Criticising his acting, Manoj Prabakar compares Mahesh Babu to Bollywood actor Katrina Kaif. Manoj says that Mahesh Babu has a face similar to Katrina's, beautiful yet devoid of any expressions.
Manoj mocks the actor’s choice to play the role of a hacker in the movie and compares Mahesh Babu to Mark Zuckerberg, with a dig over the infamous Cambridge Analytica scam. He further jokes that when Mahesh Babu’s personal WhatsApp account was hacked, all that could be found were emojis with a single expression.
The comedian adds that in the movie, actor SJ Suryah did a better job as a villain than the lead actor, Mahesh Babu.
The comedian’s jokes have not gone down well with self-proclaimed Mahesh Babu fans. Manoj has been targeted with vile comments and personal attacks across his social media profiles.
From asking the comedian to apologise for his comments on the ‘prince of Telugu Film industry’ and the ‘demi-god of Andhra’ on the same stage, to accusing him of using the actor’s name for personal mileage, the comedian faced angry rants from fans in defence of the superstar.
Many have also come out in defence of the Telugu language after the comedian commented on some of the names of Mahesh Babu’s Telugu films.
After the relentless abuse, Manoj took to Facebook and apologised to everyone who was hurt by the video.
In a lengthy open letter, Manoj says that his comments were made on the basis of the Tamil version of the movie and that they were only his personal opinion and was not meant to offend anyone. He said he had made those comments only as part of a particular show and that he didn’t want to target anyone personally. He further requested fans to put an end to all the negativity and move on.
“I have said that the lead character in the movie hasn’t performed well and that was my personal opinion. Me saying that actor did not perform well in the movie doesn’t mean that actor is bad at acting. It is clearly not going to have any impact, because it is completely my personal opinion,” Manoj wrote on his Facebook page.
He further appeals to the fans to restrict the hateful comments to him and stop targeting his friends and family members. “I am the guy in the video and I am the one who said whatever I said in the video. So, it will be great if you all can please restrict your threats and messages only to me. Anything good or bad you have to say, please direct them towards me and not to anyone else.”
Manoj in his post also gives a befitting reply to the trolls calling him ‘ugly’.
“Most of the comments and messages that I received state that ‘I am ugly’. I request you people to not waste time by calling me ugly, because I am completely aware of the fact that I am ugly. In my personal opinion, no one is beautiful, our ugliness is just delayed. So please wait for your day,” he wrote.
However, the abuse has not stopped. Many have even begun to compare Telugu actors to Tamil stars and are questioning why no comments are made on a particular Tamil celebrity’s acting skill.
“Are you trying to fool again? Do you think people don’t know the difference between intentionally targeting and sharing personal opinion...? Do you dare to do same take on Vijay who did few remakes of Mahesh,” a fan commented.
Mahesh Babu is yet to make a comment on the abuse.
Last year, director Tharun Bhascker was abused by self-proclaimed JR NTR fans for the former’s comment on the actor during an award function. Actor Renu Desai was the victim of vicious abuse by supposed Pawan Kalyan (her ex-husband) fans after she announced her engagement on social media in July.
Samantha was abused recently for a bikini picture she posted on her Instagram account, with trolls reprimanding the actor for her behaviour, since she is the daughter-in-law of the Akkineni family. Actor Taapsee Pannu was also targeted by director Raghavendra Rao’s fans last year for her comments on the portrayal of women in the former’s films.