Lakshmi Manchu ‘Wasn’t Even Allowed to Dream’ of Sharing Screen With Mohan Babu, Says ‘If I Was Born to Actress…’ | Exclusive

Lakshmi Manchu poses with her father, legendary actor Mohan Babu.

Laskhmi Manchu is set to share the screen space with her father, Mohan Babu, for the first time on a Telugu film titled Agni Nakshatram.

In an acting career spanning nearly two decades, Laskhmi Manchu is sharing screen space with her father, Mohan Babu, for the first time on a Telugu film titled Agni Nakshatram. Touted to be an actioner, it revolves around the adventures of a tough female cop and a male vigilante, which will be played by Manchu and Babu, respectively. In an exclusive interaction with News18, she reveals that unlike the popular perception, working together as actors was no cakewalk. “I’m working with my dad, so it’s very difficult. If it was any actor acting like my dad, I would say, ‘Excuse me?’ But here, we all just shut up because it’s him. For everything, he keeps saying that we aren’t paying him enough. I tell him, ‘If I did, I wouldn’t put up with your tantrums.’ (laughs). There’s never a satisfying moment on set,” she tells us.

Manchu, however, feels that being able to act with her father – who has belted out a slew of successful films like Sivaranjani (1978), Peddarayudu (1995) and Soorarai Pottru (2020) and was honoured with the Padma Shri for his contribution to cinema in 2007 – is nothing short of a feat. “I think there’s so much more we both can do. Just being able to experience this and to see both of us on the same screen, it’s beyond a dream come true for me. I wasn’t even allowed to dream this,” she remarks.

But have they been approached for films together prior to Agni Nakshatram? “No. They only write these stories on Twitter and Instagram. But nobody has ever been able to crack a story for us,” Manchu states.

Despite being born to one of the most renowned names in the south film industry, the Pitta Kathalu (2021) actor hasn’t had it easy. In fact, her desire to be an actor was frowned upon. Talking about it, she recalls, “It has been difficult, especially since I’m a woman belonging to a south Indian actor’s family. If I was born to an actress, that would’ve been different. It was not precedented for me to be an actor, it was condemned.”

And according to Manchu, the situation today hasn’t really changed much either. “We’re in 2023 and even now, how many actors’ daughters do you see in the industry? There’s one Varalaxmi Sarathkumar. Her parents are very progressive. Apart from her, there’s one Shruti Haasan and one Lakshmi Manchu, where Lakshmi Manchu is the only actor’s daughter,” she rues.

Known for her outspoken nature and candour, Manchu has attracted a host of detractors on social media. But Manchu remains unfazed. She believes that being public figure, it’s imperative for her to represent the voiceless through her work. And so, last year, she played a lesbian in the Malayalam action thriller Monster (2022) to not only push the envelope for herself but to also lend her support to the queer community.

“Art is nothing but imitating life. We, as artists, are supposed to do the same. Art is never supposed to make you comfortable. Today, people get so offended but hello, we’re supposed to offend you, make you think and push boundaries for you! That’s what artists are for and that’s what they do, have been doing and will do in the future. You may look at a piece of art and it may emotionally move you or even make you angry but I truly believe that it’s our innate duty as artists to speak what’s unspoken,” states Manchu.

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