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Interview with Lakshmi Manchu
Date: June 30, 2010, Hyderabad
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Lakshmi Manchu, the multi-faceted daughter of actor Mohan Babu is on a mission. The pretty actress earlier guest starred in popular telvision play Desperate Housewives, besides various other programmes on the American television has made a mark of herself. Lakshmi believes the secret behind her multi-tasking abilities with aplomb in various roles of a daughter, wife, actress, producer, television host comes natural to her and is a master of time-slicing. "I crave to give a personal touch to any project I take up, be it, movies, hosting talk shows. There is no mincing words when it comes to work, I am talkative and yet a straight-forward person," she reveals in an interview to Here are the excerpts -

Film producer, actress and TV show hostess. How do you manage so much of work?
I am a work horse and I used to be like this even when I was in the USA. I am always high on energy levels and work is the only thing that keeps me going in India.

How did Jhummandi Naadam happen?
Dad wanted the combination of K Raghavendra Rao and Manoj. But K Raghavendra Rao kept a condition that Lakshmi should produce it. That is how Jhummandi Naadam happened with me as producer.

K Raghavendra Rao is the king of commercial cinema. Manoj is proving to be the new-age actor with his story selection. What can we expect from this combination?
Everybody knows that K Raghavendra Rao knows the pulse of masses. Let me give an example. I got a photo shoot done and selected five photos from them. K Raghavendra Rao selected another five from the movie stills. We distributed these ten photos to the media and newspapers. To my surprise, only the photos selected by K Raghavendra Rao were published in all newspapers and magazines. It shows the understanding K Raghavendra Rao has on the media and medium. Manoj want to go for different roles. The platform is set for him to do a commercial movie. I am sure that Jhummandi Naadam will take Manoj to wider range of audiences. K Raghavendra Rao used to say ‘veedu samanyudu kaadu’ on the sets to Manoj all the time. Manoj has a keen ear for music and his judgement is good. We (me and Manoj) fight with dad to do film differently. I ask Manoj for advice these days. He is a cool guy and he knows how to handle things easily.

What is the story of Jhummandi Naadam?
Jhummandi Naadam is about an NRI girl coming to Hyderabad from USA to do research on traditional Telugu music. Manoj plays the role of a budding singer and his aim to be the next Bala Subramanyam. The story of this film is about how music brought these two people together.

I am proud that I produced Jhummandi Naadam. I saw the movie and everybody liked it. It is going to be a good film. The range of hit will depend on how people lap it up. It’s been years since we got a hit on our home banner. I want to see happiness in the eyes of my father with the success of Jhummandi Naadam.

How is the role of producer?
My production team is strong. I had to just define the work-flow. The execution went on smoothly. I had the experience of producing stuff in USA. The hardest part from me is to keep the noise levels very low on the sets.

How different is production of this movie?
The day used to start at 7 am for our earlier productions. We changed it to 9 am. I made sure that daddy is not present on the sets. He was only allowed to visit and say hello to us. I realised that the producer should be physically present on the sets in order to curtail the unnecessary expenditure. For example, the choreographer wanted 20 pieces of embroidered cloth for a shot to be taken in the top angle for a song. I asked K Raghavendra Rao if it was necessary and he said no. Each piece of that cloth costs around Rs 1800/-. I saved Rs 36,000 with that decision. There were many other instances where such unnecessary expenditure was cut. I behave like one of the technicians and it helps in getting the best out of them.

Tapsee is getting a top-notch launch with this movie and she grabbed quite a few prestigious projects even before the release of this movie?
It was V Satish (Zedcard talent management) who sent me the photos of Tapsee. When I called for auditions, I liked her energy and hair. She is the kind of heroine everybody relates to. She was trained in styling for a couple of weeks after selection. Ganesh Nallari – a gold medallist from NIFT (all India level) designed costumes of Tapsee. He is an extremely talented designer. Tapsee is doing a film with Dhanush in Tamil now. She signed a film each with Prabhas, Vishnu, Ravi Teja and Jeeva (Tamil).

Did you pay remuneration to Mohan Babu and Manoj?
No. Jhummandi Naadam is a small budgeted movie involving big stars (smiles).

You are pretty active on Twitter and have a huge number of followers?
It’s fun to be on twitter and letting people know what I have been doing. It gives me a lot of relaxation and it is also a good medium to interact with fans and movie lovers.

Tell us about next your talk show?
It is called ‘Prematho Mee Lakshmi’. It will be aired on ETV from the end of July 2010. My ‘Lakshmi Talk Show’ met with unprecedented success. I am making sure that 'Prematho Mee Lakshmi' will be much bigger in production values and content.

What are your future projects?
I am currently acting a film directed by Prakash (s/o K Raghavendra Rao). It will be releasing in the next year. I am going to produce and act as heroine in a film that is going to be launched in September. It is a sweet love story. My next talk show ‘Prematho Mee Lakshmi’ will be aired on E TV in July end.

click here to read the 1st interview of Lakshmi Manchu on IB.

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