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Entertaining with a purpose

Moving away from the run-of-the mill, Manjula Naidu's serials are humane and natural

SHE HANDLES the small screen serial arena with aplomb. For here is a young director whose key to success is her rationalism. With Manjula Naidu, realism and social consciousness get clubbed into creating a series of situations that merit a story line and can be dramatised on screen. And this makes all the difference among the myriad daily soaps being floated on the popular television channels. Her serials stand apart like a signature souvenir. Whether aired on the prime slot (timings) or the slack, it is no exaggeration that Manjula's stories capture the most random viewer turning him/her into a regular.

Presently working round the clock on her teleserial, Chakravakam now on air, she takes time off for a tete-a-tete.

What makes her click considering that most of her stories are simple and down to earth? "My choice of subject and treatment . I give lot of importance to the emotive aspect. I feel committed to each and every character's responses to a situation. I like to make them human. There should run that fine thread of a value system without being didactic; a justification for all acts and above all a natural sequence of events ,'' says Manjula.

Ask her which of her serials she likes best, Kasturi, she says with a smile, "because there is a passion in it that appealed to my inner sense.''

Though TV serials are commercial money-spinners, Manjula shuns sacrificing her ethical values at the cost of sheer commercialism. "My viewership definitely counts but that alone cannot dictate my urge to give good, valuable stories. I refuse to get drawn into the rat race and produce stereotyped subjects.

As a director, I feel I am responsible to society . I do not like associating myself to spreading abnormal behaviour through negative portrayal of characters, eulogise the evil as against what is laid out as right and wrong in the social system,'' she is emphatic about her role in the entertainment media.

To Manjula, scripting, directing and televising seemed a natural culmination to a creative urge that refused to be satiated in any other field of work. A graduate from Begumpet Women's College, Manjula dabbled in cost accountancy and then computer applications for a while, before deciding to extend a helping hand to her husband who was into production with the Doordarshan in the 1990s. "My first tele serial was Rithuraagalu which went down well with the public. That enthused me to take on direction and story writing. Kasturi, Aatmeeyulu and Kala Chakram followed. Now we have family banners - Srikanth Entertainment and Shashank

Umatics. My husband takes care of the production, my sister Bindu Naidu scripts while I indulge in story writing at times, but mainly in direction. I am very choosy about my artistes.

Language is no barrier but emotive abilities are a must. I prefer intelligent actors who can get the director's message through, assimilate the character and enact."


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