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Barred Entry into Vijayawada to Promote Upcoming Film on NT Rama Rao, Claims Ramgopal Verma

The film, based on events that led to NT Rama Rao's 'dethroning' in an intra-party coup in 1995, has cleared Election Commission and Supreme Court hurdles and is set for May 1 release in Andhra Pradesh.


Updated:April 28, 2019, 5:14 PM IST
Barred Entry into Vijayawada to Promote Upcoming Film on NT Rama Rao, Claims Ramgopal Verma
File photo of the late Andhra Pradesh CM NT Rama Rao.

Amaravati: Filmmaker Ramgopal Varma was barred entry into Vijayawada on Sunday to promote his latest Telugu movie, Lakshmi's NTR. He was detained by the city police and sent back to Hyderabad without any reason.

"Sorry to inform that the press meet at 4 pm is cancelled because the police stopped us and have barred my entry into Vijaywada and forcibly sending me back to Hyderabad... Hey @ncbn where is democracy? Why is truth being back-stabbed?" Varma asked in a tweet later.

'Lakshmi's NTR' is based on the life of Telugu Desam founder and former Chief Minister NT Rama Rao.

The film is a portrayal of the events that led to NTR's 'dethroning' in an intra-party coup in August 1995 by his son-in-law Chandrababu Naidu.

After clearing the Election Commission and High Court hurdles in view of the April 11 general elections, the film is set for May 1 release in Andhra Pradesh, though it hit the screens in all other places early this month.

Varma, along with the film's producer Rakesh Reddy and other unit members planned to organise a press conference at 4pm on Sunday in Vijayawada to publicise the movie.

He booked a star hotel for the purpose but the hotel management allegedly cancelled the reservation.

"We wanted to hold the press meet in the hotel but the management cancelled it following a warning by someone. Other hotels and clubs too are scared to accommodate us,” Varma tweeted, and announced he would be holding the press meet at the NTR Circle in the city.

"Hotels in Vijaywada are being warned not to accommodate #LakshmisNTR team... First Hotel Novotel has cancelled us and now Hotel Ilapuram. This after they have been paid in advance... The people in power should understand that one can misuse power to delay, but no one can stop truth," Varma tweeted.

As he landed at Gannavaram airport in the afternoon and started proceeding towards the city, police stopped Varma and the film unit members on the outskirts and took them back to the airport.

"All of us were stopped, made to get down from our cars and forcibly made to sit in their cars. They told us we are not allowed to enter into Vijayawada or stay there. We were dropped at the airport," the film director said in a short video message posted on Twitter.

He said he failed to understand why the police did all this.

"Police have a responsibility to maintain law and order but they are unable to say why they are preventing from entering into a city. They have no answer. That's what is happening and I will try to update later," Varma added.

A while later, he posted another message saying, "I can't communicate because they blocked my Instagram, Facebook, Twitter Live.”

When contacted, an Assistant Commissioner of Police claimed that there was "no permission" for Varma to conduct a press meet on the road.

"We don't know about the hotels but the election code is in force and any public activity requires prior permission. Since there is a possibility of breach of peace, we did not allow the film unit to visit the city," he added.

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