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HYDERABAD: It was the clash of the clans in the Telugu film industry when the Movie Artistes Association (MAA) went to polls on Sunday.
The clans were either working together or working against each other to gain supremacy in the industry. While some individuals in the clans were actively involved, some played their role behind the scenes and some chose not to be closely associated.
When Manchu Vishnu’s election as MAA president was announced late on Sunday night, his father, veteran actor and producer, Mohan Babu gave a piece of advice to him. “There will be some who would want to cause disturbances. Beware of them,” he said to his victorious son.
There was no second guessing who he meant. Chiranjeevi has been his arch rival in the industry when it came to who was the bigger personality to command respect.
Earlier in the day at a film function before the results, Chiranjeevi had said: “Identify the person who has started creating ill-will in the industry in the recent past and take action against him.”
Cut to January 28, 2007. The occasion was the 75th anniversary celebrations of the Telugu film industry.
The organisers honoured Mohan Babu with the ‘Celebrity award’ and Chiranjeevi with ‘Legend award’. An infuriated Mohan Babu slammed the organisers and made comments against Chiranjeevi too. “What makes me a celebrity and him a legend?” he questioned.
The film industry then put their names in what they called a time capsule for the future to decide who was the real legend.
Every time Mohan Babu targeted Chiranjeevi, his two younger brothers Pawan Kalyan and Naga Babu rose to his defence. The clan would lose no opportunity to get back at Mohan Babu.
For Mohan Babu, his two sons, Vishnu and Manoj, have been his source of strength, apart from his supporters.
Apart from these two, there is also the Akkineni clan, which has largely kept itself away from MAA politics, but does not shy away from playing whatever minimum role they are expected to – if it means only coming and voting.
The NTR clan is the other major one. Former CM N T Rama Rao’s son Nandamuri Balakrishna has always been opposed to Chiranjeevi.
While Mohan Babu and Chiranjeevi on certain occasions at least put up a show to pretend there are no hard feelings, Balakrishna has made it clear that he has no love lost for Chiranjeevi. On one occasion, Mohan Babu presented Chiranjeevi’s son Ram Charan Tej a model of a bike in wood. But Balakrishna stays away from such niceties.
In MAA polls, Balakrishna came out in full support of Manchu Vishnu. So it was primarily, Chiranjeevi versus Mohan Babu and Balakrishna. Prakash Raj supported by Chiranjeevi clan could not win, but Mohan Babu’s son Vishnu emerged victorious. Even if all of them said that ‘MAA’ was one family, the rupture is here to stay and could cause a bigger tear.

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