Lakshmi Manchu© Lakshmi Manchu

Actress Lakshmi Manchu On Her Dream Onscreen Role And More

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HELLO!: Congratulations on winning ‘Versatile Entertainer of the Year’…

Lakshmi Manchu: “It feels amazing to receive this award. I think any actor would be honoured, especially for it to be coming from HELLO! , and it being the first South edition of your awards. I’m on top of the world!

H!: Share some highlights of the past year and what you most look forward to in 2023.

LM: “The first highlight would be sending my daughter Nirvana back to school after the pandemic. I had quite a bit of separation anxiety, followed by a lot of interesting work. I also travelled to Botswana and stayed in the bush in the Okavango Delta. It was unbelievable! This year, I have four films slated for release. Each of them is special to me. Of them, there’s Telugu film Agni Nakshatram, which I produced and my father acted in it with me for the first time. That’s something I’m looking forward to, besides my other films.”

H!: Define success.

LM: “Success is being able to wake up every morning and be excited about what I’m doing, not ask myself how I’m going to get through the day. And having a job that allows me to live the life I want. I’m so grateful for the times I work as well as the times I don’t because it gives me the freedom to pursue my other interests.”

H!: Now more than ever, achievements and achievers from South India are attracting the spotlight. Your thoughts, please.

LM: “It’s interesting when people ask me about South India because every few years, we make a lot of noise, and all the attention is here. And then it sort of dissipates. I guess now, with the media, OTT and other platforms uniting, all of India has become one, and more than just South India, I think Indian cinema is coming together as one entity, which is heartwarming. We’re now making pan-Indian films.”

H!: Is there anything you’d like to see changed, for actresses especially, in this industry?

LM: “Out of the 100 things I’d like to change for actresses (laughs), let’s start with equality in pay. That would be amazing to see, equal pay with your male co-stars…”

H!: What defines you as an artist, and how do you prepare for each role? 

LM: “I have always been able to dig deeper as a performer because I know how deep even the simplest of characters can be dealt with. I enjoy exploring such depths, and I guess that just flows through on screen!”

H!: What’s your dream role? 

LM: “I want to do everything Glenn Close, Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence and Sandra Bullock have done. They’re all brilliant! And everything Vidya Balan and Kajol do, too.”

H!: What makes you the happiest? And what do you do in your downtime?

LM: “I love hanging out with my friends. They keep me grounded and make me think deeper about the kind of person I am. Every moment I’m not working is with my daughter. That makes me happy.”

H!: Your message to young aspiring actors:

LM: “Don’t give up! Dreams don’t have an expiration date. You can put a timeline to it, but don’t lose heart and give up on your dreams if they don’t take shape immediately.”

This story has been adapted for the website from a story that was originally published in Hello! India’s February 2023 issue. Get your hands on the latest issue right here!