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Men have been abusing women since time immemorial: Producer Daggubati Suresh Babu

The veteran film producer, whose son has been accused of sexual exploitation by Sri Reddy, condemns sexual harassment of women but cautions that the #MeToo movement should not be used to cook up false allegations.

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Mayur Lookhar

The #MeToo movement gained momentum in India after actress Tanushree Dutta spoke up about the horror she experienced while shooting Horn Ok Pleassss. Dutta accused veteran actor Nana Patekar of molestation and intimidation. Since then, big names from the industry including Sajid Khan, Alok Nath, Rajat Kapoor, Subhash Ghai, have been called out for sexual harassment allegations.

Before Dutta recounted her ordeal, Telugu actress Sri Reddy stripped in public to protest against sexual exploitation in the Telugu film industry. Reddy had taken some high profile names too. Veteran film producer Daggubati Suresh Babu’s younger son and actor Rana Daggubati's brother Abhiram was also accused by Reddy of sexual exploitation. spoke to Suresh Babu on the sidelines of the 49th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), held in Goa. We asked him about his thoughts on the #MeToo campaign and also sought his reaction to the allegations against his son.

“Basically, we had accepted it [exploitation of women] as part of the society. The way man treated a woman, by nature we accepted certain methods and did nothing about it thinking of its as natural conduct. Now when they have started speaking up, the change is necessary. Men have been abusing women since time immemorial. Predominantly, it had become a basic human greed to abuse a woman. This should no longer be accepted,” Suresh Babu said.

The veteran film producer condemned all acts of sexual harassment.

“It’s good that [MeToo movement] is happening but whatever action has to be taken it has to be done in accordance with the law. Also, one doesn’t need to cook up false stories. Be honest, be true and justice should be done to everybody,” he added.

When asked whether he has full faith in his son, Suresh Babu replied, “That is nothing is nothing. That was just a [pauses] What is he [Abhiram]? He is nobody. It was just a silly episode. #MeToo should not just become a shaming business.”

Suresh Babu is in Goa to attend IFFI. The veteran was to join his brother Venkatesh and son Rana Daggubati for interactive sessions. However, due to the death of veteran Kannada actor and former union minister Ambareesh on 25 November, the sessions have been postponed indefinitely. Rana and Venkatesh, perhaps, left for the funeral, but Suresh Babu stayed back for media interactions.

The veteran producer paid tribute to Ambareesh, saying, "Ambareesh sir was a very good man. He helped a lot of people. He's worked with my father [Ramanaidu] and brother. The Daggubatis offer their deepest condolences to his family."

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IFFI Sexual harassment