A sensational drug racket busted in Hyderabad earlier this month has put the spotlight on the murky underbelly of Tollywood.
According to officials in Telangana's Excise and Prohibition Department, at least 15 personalities from the Telugu film industry were suspected to be involved in the racket. And a list containing the names of several popular names who reportedly got notices from the cops, was also leaked.
Even as most of Tollywood has been fighting back as its image is at stake, actor Bhanu Chander recently spoke about his struggles with drug addiction and how he overcame it.
Speaking to TV9 Telugu, the Sutradharulu actor said that he got addicted to drugs in the early 1970s.
"I was then part of a rock band in Mumbai. I got introduced to drugs through friends. It was also stress that led me to taking drugs," he told the channel.
Among the drugs that were available to him were Black Bombay, Purple and LSD.
Before he knew it, Bhanu Chander was addicted to drugs.
It was his brother who rescued him from the grip of narcotics by introducing him to martial arts.
He loved practicing it and it also helped wean him away from his addiction.
A few years later, he made his foray in the world of cinema.
When asked about his views on the drug scandal rocking Tollywood, the actor however said that it was not right time to judge the entire industry at this point.
According to media reports, actor Ravi Teja's name also features in the leaked list along with that of other celebrities.
Rajya Lakshmi, the star's mother, has vehemently denied all allegations stating that her son has never touched drugs in his life.
"Whatever is being said in the media about him is absolutely false. He has never touched drugs in his life and he has never smoked. He wakes up in the morning, goes to the gym and is extremely health conscious. Our entire family, especially him, is extremely distressed by the news (linking him to the drug racket)," she told Sakshi TV.
Just last month, Ravi Teja‚Äôs brother, Bharath Raju, was killed in a car crash.
Reports suggested that there could be a link between his death and drug abuse in Tollywood.
A source told Deccan Chronicle that the police, after examining Bharath's phone data following the accident, found information pointing to a drug racket in the industry.
"With the information on his phone, the police has found links between Tollywood and the secretive narcotics world,‚ÄĚ an industry source told the paper.
Bharath had once also been arrested for a drug related incident, the report added.
Rajya Lakshmi said, "Bharath used to drink but since the last couple of months, he had stopped such activities. He had been preparing for Bigg Boss Telugu. The media, without any sensitivity, kept hounding us with just baseless allegations. Only a mother will understand what pain her son is going through."