“All PK (Pawan Kalyan) fan groups have ur number now. We will break you"
“You are hurting PK fans. If fans are hurt, you will regret. We know your address too”
These are some of the threat messages Mahesh Kathi, a Telugu movie critic, has been receiving from Pawan Kalyan fans after his critical review of the actor’s latest film ‘Katamarayudu’.
On March 24, Mahesh called the movie, “a badly written film” with “a predictable screenplay”.
“#Katamarayudu - baseless story, predictable screenplay. Pawan Kalyan tried his best to save a badly written film with his style. Rest of the actors are reduced to cameos. Villains who can make hero strong act like jokers. Strictly for PK fans and rest can stay away,” Mahesh said in a Facebook post.
He said that the movie was sexist, with plenty of derogatory comments against women.
Soon, Pawan Kalyan fans started trolling him with abuses and threats on his Facebook wall, many of which Mahesh has been blocking and deleting.
Despite the onslaught of trolls, he has decided to stand by his opinion.
“When I review a movie, I see the story and substance, which are rare in the Telugu film industry. Whenever I write a negative review about any big star’s movie, this has always been the case. I get threats and abusive messages. But this is my opinion about the movie and I stand by it. A movie might make 1000 crores at the box office but what my opinion will remain my opinion,” Mahesh says.
Recently, he faced another round of cyberbullying for his review of “Baahubali - the conclusion”s trailer, when he said it had grand visual effects but lacked substance, and further went on to say that he had seen better mythological films during NT Rama Rao’s times.
Mahesh, who belongs to the Scheduled Caste category, accuses Tollywood of being casteist. He also feels Telugu movies lack new ideas and fail to address social issues.
“The main characters are given to the upper caste heroes. There are hardly any actors from the lower class. The movies are not about the stories anymore and only all about the hero. For instance in Katamarayudu, it is all about Pawan Kalyan’s style, not about what the story is. And fans have failed to look beyond that,” he says.
In 2015, Mahesh directed a romantic comedy film ‘Pesarattu’, the first crowdfunded film of Tollywood, which did not click at the box office.
“I get hate messages saying my movie was a flop and so, I have no right to judge other movies. When my movie was criticized, I respected it and took it in a positive way. People have no right to stop me from giving opinion when I pay for watching movies. But fans are immature and childish. I don’t feel angry. I feel sorry for them,” he says.
Tollywood has seen vicious fights break out between fans of top actors leading to violent attacks. TNM had reported in August 2016 how fan clubs had taken a caste and political colour with fans associating themselves with actors of their own caste. A Pawan Kalyan fan had been killed by Junior NTR fans after he took potshots at the actor.
In 2016, Nisha Menon Chembakassery, a native of Thrissur in Kerala, received abusive messages after she posted a critical review of Mohanlal’s blockbuster ‘Pulimurugan’. However, she chose to stick her opinion.