CHENNAI: South star Chiranjeevi, addressing the crowd at the pre-release event on his latest release Acharya said that it was "very humiliating" for him as an actor from the Telugu film industry to witness Indian cinema projected to be Hindi cinema for a long time.
He also said that he was proud that films like Baahubali franchise and RRR have been successful.
In a video, the actor was heard recounting his trip to Delhi to receive a national integration award for Rudraveena (1988).
He said, "We were having tea in a hall. The walls around us were decorated with posters showcasing the grandeur of Indian cinema and some brief notes. There were photos of Prithiviraj Kapoor, Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Amitabh Bachchan, Rajesh Khanna, Dharmendra and so on. They showed their pictures and described them beautifully. We thought they would also talk about South Indian cinema in such great detail, but they just showed a still image of MGR and Jayalalithaa dancing. They described it as South Indian cinema. Prem Nazir, who played lead roles in a record number of films in the history of Indian cinema, was also featured."
He added, "There were no pictures of Kannada Kanteerava Rajkumar, Vishnuvardhan, N T Rama Rao, A Nageswara Rao and Nadigar Thilagam Sivaji Ganesan who were demigods to us. For me, it was humiliating. I felt very sad. They projected only Indian cinema to be Hindi cinema and they dismissed other industries as regional language cinema. They didn't bother to acknowledge contributions from other parts of India and it upset me".
The statement from the actor came amid a pushback from South India against alleged attempts to impose Hindi as a national language.
Last month, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin, his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan and Telangana minister KT Rama Rao were among the leaders who spoke out against Home Minister Amit Shah's remarks and stressed that unity in diversity is India's strength.