A recent interview of Telugu star and MLA Nandamuri Balakrishna went viral. In the interview, the actor says he doesn't know who Oscar-winning music composer AR Rahman is. In addition, he says that Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, is equal to the "toenail" of his father, late actor-politician NT Rama Rao. Rahman, incidentally, had composed the background score of Balakrishna's 1993 film, "Nippu Ravva".
"I don't know who AR Rahman is. He won an Oscar and I don't even know who he is. He gives a hit once in a decade," said Balakrishnan, in an interview to the channel TV9.
Speaking about Bharat Ratna, the actor, also known as Ballaya to fans, said: "I feel that Bharat Ratna is equal to my father's toenail. No award can compensate for the contribution of my family to Tollywood. So, only the awards should feel bad. Not my family or my father."
His statements went viral on social media and netizens had a field day. A Twitter war erupted, with Rahman fans mercilessly posting memes, and hashtag #whoisbalakrishna started trending. Soon Balakrishna's fans also came out defending him, saying he was a hero of the masses and a charitable personality. Sample some of these tweets:
A fan tweeted: "How can a senior actor like #Balakrishna talk about Indian legend #ARRahman? Will people accept if a similar thing is being spoken by a Tamil actor on #Rajamouli?" While another one tweeted: "Who is balakrisha the funny actor #whoisbalakrishna."
"Born to spoil is DAD good name.. #whoisbalakrishna this head weight attitude is the biggest reason for people to hate him.. funniest part is he is MLA"
--with IANS inputs