Tollywood to Hollywood, this Superstar says it is Only Hard Work that has Gotten him Where he is
It doesn't work in the industry if you think "chalta hain, mera baap hero hain, main bhi hero banunga." You have to work your ass off
My journey to the Ramoji Film City to catch up with South India's heartthrob Vishnu Manchu left me in much surprise.
Soon after I received a confirmation on Manchu's shoot still on at the Hyderabad Film City, my cab driver who overheard the conversation asked me if I was a director and if I could get an autograph of Manchu for him. A production van came to pick me up at the hotel where I decided to stay, and suddenly the staff was much kinder to me, again assuming I was a director.
It left me wondering how many lives had Vishnu Manchu really touched; I could tell almost every other person's whom I met during my time at Hyderabad.
From the role of an actor to that of a producer, an educationist to philanthropist, Manchu is a name every South Indian household reckons with.
The son of veteran actor Mohan Babu has built his own empire where he plays the lead role. "I am very focused that I want to be known as an actor. That is something that will never waiver," says Manchu.
This, however, hasn't come easy.
"I had to work my ass off. It doesn't work in the industry if you think "chalta hain, mera baap hero hain, main bhi hero banunga.' You have to learn to dance, act, fight; just everything if you got be the lead actor," Manchu said in an interview sitting in a vanity van on the sets of his upcoming film.
He does agree that children of legendary actors do get help in getting their first or the second film. But says nepotism only helps to a certain extent.
"If you don't work on your skills, the audience is very unforgiving. Audience is king and you have to make movies for them. Unless and until you have the talent and you are willing to give in your 200 percent, you can break into anything," says Manchu.
With his production company 24 Frames Factory, Manchu sees himself producing a lot of content-oriented movies – "I will be making some phenomenal movies on magic and I would love to bring in independent stories."
Manchu believes India has fantastic story-tellers but when it comes to VFX & 3D, India is 20-25 per cent of Hollywood. "We still have to pick up on VFX. We don't get good 3D that could match the levels of China and South Korea.
Manchu's love for content has led him to foray into Hollywood with his futuristic venture VMR Entertainment, which makes pure English films only in Hollywood films for TV studios.
Manchu believes producing for Netflix, Hotstar, Amazon among others will revolutionize content in India and he intends to work with all digital OTT players.
"24 Frames Factory has a very strong presence in India. There are few subjects which I would love to produce, which I cannot do here. I could do it in Hollywood; I have the money, I have got the full crew – American, British and Australian," says Manchu.
"Either Entertainment or Education'
I am clear I will either be in entertainment or in education says Manchu.
"My father started education institutions in 1992. The reason he started was because he wanted to give back to the society. I saw what my father being the son of a farmer could do. And when my father gave me so much opportunity, I thought how much could I do."
Manchu runs the Sree Vidyanikethan Educational Trust, founded by his father. The trust runs the Sree Vidyanikethan International School, colleges for engineering, pharmacy, nursing and management and has nearly 14,000 students.
He started Springboard Academy, which now has 72 branches across South of India and nearly 4000 students.
His unique idea of The New York Academy that caters to education of children of expats is eyeing expansion in 2018 and aims to be among the niche schools in Asia catering only to American education.
Manchu who believes early childhood education forms the base of a healthy society says his aim is I should at least have 1.5 lakh students across India.
In his aim to give back to the society, he hopes to use his power of being an actor and do his best.
Coming from a home with core values and, disciple, Manchu knows no luxury or success is permanent.
His only advise to all those who wish to achieve something in their lives is - believe in yourself, be disciplined in working hard. As long as you believe in yourself and you work hard, even with minimum talent, you can break into any field.
"As a kid, I was the ugly duckling. The only thing I asked God was make me an actor. And here I am," said Manchu as I bid goodbye to the most humble actor I have met till date.