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Exclusive! Lakshmi Manchu on Pathaan: SRK will bring the audience to the theatre

Ahead of the release of Shah Rukh Khan’s much-awaited film Pathaan, actress-producer Lakshmi Manchu talks about why she doesn’t support the current trend of ‘Bollywood bashing’

Exclusive! Lakshmi Manchu on Pathaan: SRK will bring the audience to the theatre
Lakshmi Manchu
  • Arundhuti Banerjee

Last Updated: 02.21 PM, Jan 18, 2023

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Actress and producer Lakshmi Manchu is quite hopeful that Shah Rukh Khan’s much-awaited movie, Pathaan, will bring the audience back to the theatre, like the way Baahubali did in the past. While lately most of Bollywood’s big-ticket films have failed to impress the box office, as opposed to south films, especially Telugu and Kannada, Pathaan is expected to bring a wave of change. 

In an exclusive conversation with OTTplay, Lakshmi shared her opinion on the new trend of ‘Bollywood bashing’, and why people are not showing interest to watch films in the theatre. “I think people are forgetting the fact that the majority of the population is still recovering from the after-effects of the pandemic. Not everyone has managed to bounce back to normal yet. So, going to the theatre to watch a film as soon as it releases is not on their priority list at all,” she said, adding, “That said, I believe that Pathaan will bring the people back to the theatre. It’s been a long time since we have watched SRK on the big screen. This film will bring the business back. Everyone would go and watch him in the theatre. Especially people in small towns - those who are his diehard fans.”

Comparing it with SS Rajamouli’s Baahubali franchise, Lakshmi said, “You see what Baahubali did - it brought back a lot of people to the theatre, who weren’t really fans of such films. When we think about spectacles, we think about Hollywood fantasy films. And perhaps, that is why even today, Hollywood films work well at the box office here. But we must not forget that we love our stars too!”

While she agrees that watching a film in the theatre is quite a culture in the south and, perhaps, that is why those films performed at the box office, she does not support the ‘Bollywood bashing’ culture that is gathering steam, of late.

“Common people are prioritising their investment of time and money. Why would anyone who has struggled for food and basic amenities, invest ₹500 to ₹700 to watch a film. They would rather wait for it to release on OTT platforms, wouldn't it? We have to give our audience the time to recover. The audience who are making us feel like a star by showing up in the theatre. Also, earlier cinema had a lot of emotion attached to it. As in, if a film is running in the theatre, you won’t remove it as fast as it happens today. At times, even the audience does not have the choice to watch it after two weeks. Not everyone can decide to watch a film on the very week it releases,” she elaborated.

Being the daughter of celebrated Telugu actor Mohan Babu, Lakshmi has grown up watching a lot of films. When asked about her inspiration in Bollywood, the actress-producer said that she absolutely loves both Shah Rukh and Aamir Khan.

“I love Aamir Khan as well as SRK. Aamir is my childhood crush and in my head, I was married to Aamir. So, later when I found out that he’s already married, I was actually heartbroken (laughs). Hindi cinema is our inspiration as much as Hollywood. I think ridiculing Bollywood is nonsense. We should grow together, if we believe that the world is one,” Lakshmi signed off.

Pathaan - which also stars John Abraham and Deepika Padukone - is releasing on January 25 in three languages - Hindi, Telugu and Tamil.