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Smile of success

No Monday blues: Swapna Dutt enjoys work at its pace. - PHOTO: NAGARA GOPAL  

When you are born in an illustrious producer's family in Telugu film industry, you are bound to be bit by the film bug sooner or later. Swapna Dutt, daughter of producer Aswani Dutt realised this during her business management days in the US while assisting her father and taking care of the shooting schedules overseas. “Managing things was my forte. My production stints with Balu and Subhash Chandra Bose challenged me to do something more,” she says lounging on the couch at her plush house in Jubilee Hills. Even after being associated with the glamorous film and television industries, Swapna still shies away from the camera. “I get really conscious when photographed,” she explains.

TRP pressures

Swapna Dutt is like any other 28-year-old girl (“I don't shy away from revealing my age. I think I am doing a lot for my age”) who loves to watch films, TV and hangout with friends. But, the point is she watches television not for fun but to visualise new ways so that that the shows on her channel do not get caught on the wrong side of TRP.

“Television is a high pressure industry,” she says with a smile on her face. The smile has been her constant companion. From the days, she conceptualised a singing show based on the lines of the popular American Idol to launching Local TV, a broadband channel along with her friend and business partner Vishnu. Even when people commented that she is wasting money or that going has been easy for her as she is a top producer's daughter, Swapna's smile did not fade. “It was very strange because if I was any other person, they would have said ‘wow', applauded my decision and encouraged me. However, I think it is human nature to first talk in a negative way,” she says with her smile intact.

Perhaps, part of her attitude comes from her upbringing in Vijayawada. “Despite having a car at home, we were sent to school in a rickshaw. Irrespective of whether my father's film was a success or flop, things were always balanced for us,” she recollects and credits her mother for keeping them grounded.

Local TV is two-year-old and Swapna looks back at the amount of hard work all her team members have put in to shine through the small screen. The channel managed to grip the audience with the charisma of yesteryear actress Jayaprada, who appears in a new talk show called Jayapradam. Now, in a show produced and conceptualised by her, actor Jagapathi Babu joins the party as he is making his television debut soon on ETV in a show titled Raju Rani Jagapathi. Also on the cards is Miss AP in September on Local TV, where Namrata Shirodkar will take the role of a mentor and judge. “We have been able to establish a positive connect with the audience. We are happy at the position where we are as we are growing.

It would be ridiculous and stupid to even compare ourselves with one of the more popular channels,” she says. She enjoys work at its pace and is looking forward to the media awards to be given away by Local TV on August 15.

Talk about her new plans and the face is flushed with the glow of Mayabazaar, the new Telugu channel to be launched soon.

“The channel will have entertainment of a different kind and the launch date is tentatively fixed for the end of the year. It will be worth the wait,” she says with her fingers crossed.

She considers her father an encyclopaedia from whom she learnt all her lessons in life. “I used to work late in the evenings and get up late too. Once my father asked me the reason and I told him “ Pani emi ledu” (There is no work). He told me work will not come to you. One needs to put in effort and keep doing work. Sometimes there is no work, but I still go to office in the morning. I have seen one's right attitude can make so much difference, she says.

If creative heads of different television channels follow the schedule of brainstorming sessions to devise ways to plot rival channels' doom, Swapna Dutt goes the fun way and plays volleyball with her friends as a stress buster.

Her family includes her two sisters Priyanka (who takes care of The Three Angeles productions) and Shravanthi who is into hospitality sector. Her father is producing Shakti, a 40-crore movie with Junior NTR to be released by the end of the year. In the midst of all this talk, it is the plainest of things that has her in a daze.

And, that is, the announcement that her father will produce the part 2 of her favourite film Jagadeka Veerudu Atiloka Sundari, which had Chiranjeevi and Sridevi in the lead.

“I don't remember the number of times I have watched the film. I absolutely adore Chiranjeevi garu and Sridevi garu in the film. Can a movie-buff ask for more?” she says thrilled.



The channel managed to grip the audience with the charisma of yesteryear actress Jayaprada. Now, actor Jagapathi Babu joins the party as he is making his TV debut soon