Actor Kangana Ranaut on Thursday backed Telugu superstar Mahesh Babu's comments that Bollywood can't afford him, saying the actor only showed "respect" towards his industry and his remarks should not be made into a controversy.
When asked to comment on Babu's statement at the trailer launch of her film "Dhaakad", Kangana said, "He (Babu) was right that Bollywood can't afford him, this I agree (with). I know for a fact that many filmmakers have approached him."
The Telugu star's comments made at a promotional event of his production "Major" in Hyderabad recently led to a controversy on social media.
At the event, he had said, "I may sound arrogant, I did get a lot of offers in Hindi. But I think they can't afford me. I don't want to waste my time. The stardom and love I have here in Telugu cinema, I never thought of going to another industry." The actor later clarified that he respects all languages but was happy in his space in Telugu cinema.
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Ranaut said Babu was simply stating facts. "His generation has singlehandedly made Telugu industry the number one film industry in India. Now, Bollywood definitely can't afford him. I don't see why this should be made into a huge controversy," Kangana said.
The actor said she did not know in what sense Babu made those remarks but she and many others have often joked "Hollywood can't afford us".
"He (Babu) has only shown a lot of respect towards his industry and we can't deny that Telugu films have grown in the last 10-15 years. They didn't get anything on a platter. We only have lots to learn from them," she said.
The actor said she did not want to again speak about the language divide between the two industries as this "country has many languages and they are all important. No language is bigger or smaller than the other".
Asked whether "Dhaakad" will be an answer to pan India hits from South cinema, Kangana said, "I don't think I have come here to reply (on this)." Calling herself "the biggest cheerleader of South Indian cinema", the actor said, "I was the first one to start this topic that our regional cinema should do well. If there is something we must do together, (it's) save our screens from Hollywood." It is Hollywood that the Indian film industry needs to be wary of, she said.
"If we have to, we must safeguard ourselves from Hollywood. We don't have to fight amongst ourselves. Be it South, Malayalam, Kannada or Punjabi cinema, we must promote them." "And about giving an answer to the South cinema , why should we give an answer to our own people? We aren't scared of South films, we should be scared of the American film industry," she said.
Also starring Arjun Rampal and Divya Dutta, "Dhaakad" will be released on May 20.