Stand-up comedian Manoj Prabhakar faces brutal online abuse for comments on actor Mahesh Babu
Dr Naresh VK, the General Secretary of Movie Artistes' Association and a family member of Mahesh Babu, has sent a letter to Nadigar Sangam, condemning Manoj's comments
Manoj Prabhakar, the comedian based in Chennai, has been facing online abuse from self-proclaimed Mahesh Babu fans for his comments about the actor in a mock award show titled AccaDummy Awards. This comes in the wake of a video clip of the show, featuring the comedian taking a light-hearted dig at the actor's work in his debut Tamil film Spyder, going viral across social media platforms.
Subsequently, Dr Naresh VK, the General Secretary of Movie Artistes' Association and a family member of Mahesh Babu, sent a letter to Nadigar Sangam yesterday condemning Manoj's comments, which he termed as offensive. "We were utterly shocked when we saw that a comedian named Manoj Prabhakar had made extremely derogatory remakes about Super Star Mahesh Babu, about his personality and his acting talents in an award function which has created a furore in the Southern states, igniting bad vibrations about the friendly Tamil Film Industry. Though these are irresponsible comments of an individual, we fear that this will reflect to a certain extent on the esteemed Nadigar Sangam."
After a couple of days of unrelenting abuse, the stand-up comedian posted an apology on his Facebook account on Thursday. "Everything and anything told on the show was not personal, and I have nothing against the actor or his followers. If at all if anything was hurtful or if it did hurt anyone’s sentiment, then it wasn’t intentional and my sincere SORRY and APOLOGIES for the same," he wrote. When we tried to reach out to Manoj, he wasn't available for comment.
Commenting on the issue, Jagan Krishnan, a fellow standup-comedian on the show, says, "This is not even an issue of freedom of expression; the very fact that they are falsely accusing him of filthy things is illegal by itself. Everybody has the right to criticise the work of a performer, but it's disheartening to see certain people stooping down to the level of personal attacks on his family and his appearance. As a friend, I feel devasted about the whole issue as no one deserves to go through such emotional trauma." Jagan also feels that the issue has been blown out of proportion by fans. "I am pretty sure that Mahesh Babu will not mind these comments, as he is bigger than all this," he says
Meanwhile, Ram Babu, the President of Superstar Krishna Mahesh Sena seems to echo the same sentiments. "Mahesh Babu, usually, doesn't bother about such issues. He always instructs his fans not to blow such things out of proportion," he says.
The reason as to why the MAA General Secretary chose to send a complaint letter to the Nadigar Sangam remains unclear as Manoj is a standup comedian, and not a comedy actor. When CE tried to reach out to the representatives of Nadigar Sangam, they weren't in a position to comment about the issue. "We've just received the copy of the letter. We will issue a statement after consulting with the board members," responded a spokesperson.