The Nandi Awards, which were announced by the Andhra Pradesh state government for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016, a few days ago, has snowballed into a major controversy now.
According to reports, ace producer Allu Aravind helped Boyapati Srinu bag the Best Director (BN Reddy Award) for the year 2016, side lining director Shekar Kammula.
Reports suggest that Shekar Kammula was the strong contender for the Best Director, 2016, but it eventually went to Boyapati Srinu on the insistence of Allu Aravind.
In Aravindâ€™s defence, some social media users pointed out that his own son, Allu Arjun, did not get an award, and that level of lobbying was not possible.
Another rumour doing the rounds about Boyapati Srinu being selected for the award is that he shares a good rapport with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu, which earned him the coveted award.
Boyapati Srinu is an accomplished director and has directed several hit movies. His directorial debut was with Bhadra in 2005 starring Ravi Teja and Meera Jasmine. He then went on to the direct Thulasi, Simha, Dammu, Legend, Sarrainodu and Jaya Janaki Nayaka.
It may be mentioned here that the director has been selected for the Nandi Award for Best Director for directing Legend in 2014. Incidentally, this film starred actor-politician Nndamuri Balakrishna in the lead role, who also happens to be Naiduâ€™s brother-in-law.
Balakrishna is also one of the jury members.
There has been a huge outrage over Legend bagging eight Nandi Awards with many alleging favoritism as the film has a member from the ruling party.
Several film personalities came out in the open to allege favouritism. While movie buffs expected Manam to win a few awards, Legend swept the Nandi Awards for the year 2014, giving rise to various allegations.
Blockbuster film Baahubali, which released in 2015, bagged 13 Nandi awards in different categories.
While Telugu film director Gunasekhar took to Twitter to publish an open letter addressed to Naidu, which faulted the jury for not giving his movie, Rudramadevi, due recognition, Racegurram producer Nallamalupu Bujji also alleged that there was nepotism in the way the awardees were selected.
Senior film actor and script writer Posani Krishna Murali also lashed out at the Andhra Pradesh government.