Lakshmi Manchu: 'More respect for art in South'

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By Hindustan Times

Mumbai, Nov. 5 -- In Bollywood, the children of star actors stand sure shot chances of bagging film debuts without much effort. But star kids down South don't feel the same way about the Hindi film industry. Lakshmi Manchu is veteran Telugu star Mohan Babu's daughter. And even as a kid, she knew she would never be able to break into Bollywood. That's why she began working abroad in acclaimed TV shows like Las Vegas, Boston Legal and Desperate Housewives among others.

"I thought I could never act in India because of my family background. I'm not from the North. It's a whole different ball game. I knew this as a child," says Manchu, who will soon make her Bollywood debut with Ram Gopal Varma's Department, also featuring Amitabh Bachchan.

"Except for Shruti Hassan, Kamal Hassan's daughter, there has not been any other hero's daughter in this industry. People are nervous to approach you here." Manchu will star opposite Sanjay Dutt in Department. Interestingly, Dutt has known her since she was a child. Dutt, and my dad were very close. They were in the Rajya Sabha at the same time, and Sunil uncle would come to our house all the time," she says, adding that starring opposite him now seems funny.

The actor will also be mani aging her work internationally. But what's keeping her busy right now is her production Oo Kodathara Ulikki Padathara. The film top lines her actor-brother Manoj in the lead role. "It's a bilingual project in Telugu and Tamil. It's very Indian, and rooted with our culture and sentiments, yet it can be whatever genre you like it to be," says Manchu, adding, "I've made a huge set worth R 6 crore in Hyderabad. It's going to be epic." Alhough she has no plans to release the film in English, Hindi definitely is on the cards. Manchu might be a huge fan of Hindi films, but having worked in the South and in Hollywood, she claims there is a lot more respect for the art in the South. "People don't take it for granted like they do here. For instance, even the make up artiste wants assistants for touchups and hair. All this increases the cost of production, but the audience doesn't see that difference," explains Manchu, who is now eagerly waiting to watch Rockstar.