Manasuku Nachindi: Mahesh Babu’s sister Manjula on her directorial debut and working with her brother

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Mahesh Babu’s sister Manjula Ghattamaneni is all excited about her directorial debut, Manasuku Nachindi, releasing today. The story of Manasuku Nachindi is very close to her heart and took about a year to pen down the story. The only motive of this movie is to bring happy moments amidst the busy schedule of everyday life.

Manjula revealed that direction has been in her mind for the longest time, in an exclusive chat.

“As a kid, I’d get these story ideas which never made sense to me back them. These were random ideas with no head or tail. But I wanted to see these stories on screen someday. Even before I wanted to become an actor, I had the urge to become a director. However, I realised direction was very challenging and felt in order to direct, I need to experience life to recreate something on screen. Having grown up watching my father act, acting came naturally to me.” She said in the interview.

Motherhood gave Manjula the time to reflect upon her strengths and the break helped in bringing the best out of her. “Motherhood is a wonderful thing. When we had our daughter, I wanted to give her quality time. Children require lot of love and affection, especially when they’re very young. I didn’t want to miss out on giving her that attention. I did Kavya’s Diary and produced Ye Maaya Chesave when my daughter was three-years old. While I did both these projects, I felt I wasn’t spending enough time with her. Hence, I decided to take a long break,” she said.

Manjula said her film is all about following one’s heart. The title, which roughly translates to – What Your Heart Desires – pretty much sums up her journey: “It’s a young love story. It’s about getting connected to your heart and following it. We are more than our body and mind. Despite coming from a very popular film family, my journey was a struggle. I’m not using struggle in a negative context, but the process was long and challenging.”

About the cast, the film stars Sundeep Kishan, Amyra Dastur, and Tridha Choudhury among others. Talking about her actors, “I usually go with my gut and the vibe I get when I meet someone. Producer Gemini Kiran suggested I meet Sundeep. At the point, I hadn’t watched his films but when I met him I got a very good vibe about him. He could relate to my story and was willing to do something out of the commercial zone. When I met Amyra, I wasn’t sure if she could pull off the character. She was gorgeous but she didn’t know Telugu and that worried me. But when we did a week-long workshop with her, she floored me with her commitment to learn her lines.” She said.

Her father has been supportive and excited about her work ever since the start. He is proud that someone accepted the story and decided to produce it. Her brother Mahesh Babu, on the other hand, expressed shock initially but when he sensed her enthusiasm and confidence, he backed Manjula’s decision too.

However, she isn’t sure if Mahesh will work in her direction. “I don’t think he’d ever take me seriously,” she laughs, adding, “I’ll be producing a film with him soon but I’m not sure if he’ll act in my direction. I can do an out-and-out commercial film and get him on board. But those are not the kind of films I want to do.”

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