Legendary actress Gautami, is making a comeback to Telugu cinema after a gap of nearly two decades. She will be seen in Manamantha, a family drama directed by Chandrasekhar Yeleti. On the occasion of the film’s release, we caught up with her for an exclusive interview. Let’s see what she has to say.
What made you choose a Telugu film after such a long time?
I was busy with my own personal things and was waiting for the right script. I heard a lot about Aithe and when I found out that the same director wanted to narrate me a script, I okayed for the meeting right away.
What element attracted you towards the film?
The basic idea of how people have forgotten relationships and are living life on a monotonous note looked very convincing. Also the way Chandrasekhar set the film amidst a middle class family and how with a bit of effort, life can be made so beautiful made me say yes to the script right away.
Did you see any of Chandrasekhar Yeleti’s previous films?
No ! I did not. Once I agreed to act in the film, I felt that I should work with an open mind and go according to his vision and belief.
What kind of challenge did you face while doing this role?
More than the challenge, I felt very happy doing a straight Telugu film after ages. Also, I was working with Mohan Lal after a long gap. My character had a lot of scenes with yet another stunning actress Urvasi and we all had a ball shooting for this film.
How was it working with Yeleti?
He is one of the best directors I have worked with. He is a very passionate director who will shoot according to what he has perceived and does not fall in the trap of commercial aspects. I remember a scene where things were not getting right and our shift time was also getting over. For the first time, I saw him in a lot of pressure. I walked straight to him and told him to relax and shoot the scene the way he wanted.
Your working experience with Mohan Lal?
Even after all these years in this business, he does not have any air and goes with the flow. He is such a down to earth star and can deliver a knockout performance every time he is on screen.
How difficult was it to shoot the film in three languages?
In Tamil and Telugu it was more or less the same, but for the Malayalam version, many things were changed and I had to adjust according to the nativity of the state.
How is the response for the film in Tamil and Malayalam?
Many of my friends and media people who have watched the film in Tamil are rooting for it big time. Everyone is talking only about the emotions and positive attitude that the film carries through out.
Manamantha is drawing comparisons with your previous film Drishyam. What do you have to say?
The only common factor in these films is that the story is set in a middle class family. Rest, everything is quite different from each other.
What kind of impression do you have about Telugu cinema off late?
I feel that everybody is working very hard for their projects. I am very much impressed by some of the small budget films which have done very well in the past. The amount of effort and sincerity that today’s actors are putting in is just amazing.
You have been for so long in the industry. What keeps you going?
For me sky is the limit. I have once again started acting and would like to do different roles in various languages. I feel that as an actor, I can bring a lot to the table and am open to all sorts of roles in the future.
Do you think a family drama like Manamantha will sustain in this day and age?
Look, even though times have changed the basic emotions and feeling between human beings are the same. Everything depends on how we look at life and Manamantha is exactly about that.
You future projects?
I am on the verge of okaying a very interesting project which will be yet another bilingual. Will announce it in a few days.
Finally, What should one expect from Manamantha?
The film will be a roller coaster ride filled with realistic emotions, suspense and a lot of thrill. Everyone has worked with a lot of passion which will be seen on screen.
With that, we wrapped up our interview with Gautami and wished her the best of luck for her future.
Interviewed by Avad