Dear friend, I am Manjula Ghattamaneni. I believe that I have been blessed with a special purpose in this world, and that is to help one million people have an empowered life. It warms my heart to know that you are here, reading this message. I hope to build a meaningful and lasting connection with you through our virtual interactions. Your presence here means a lot to me, and I value your time and your personhood. Allow me to tell you a little about myself.
My Childhood as Superstar’s daughter
My childhood is very normal due to the simplicity, humility, and principles of my parents. We are three sisters and two brothers. We were never brought up as superstar’s children because my dad is a very simple man who never behaved like a superstar. My mom and granny were beautiful, homely homemakers who instilled strong values and culture in us. Even though my dad was very busy and was working almost 16 hours a day, he made it a point to spend time with us. Our weekends and holidays were spent with him in his shoots. We literally grew up in the studios. Watching my dad put makeup on, the arc lights, camera, action, I just loved it. In the summer holidays, my dad would create great roles for my brothers, and once or twice, he gave me a role as well. It was great fun facing the camera. As I grew up watching my dad, I wanted to be a great actor like him. But I could not share this with anyone as it was a taboo for girls in most of the Telugu film-industry families to act in movies. So, I kept this interest to myself.
My dream of becoming an actor
I finished college, after which I assisted my dad and observed how films were directed. My interest in acting became a strong desire now. Gathering all my guts, I broke the news to my dad and family that I want to be an actress. They told me firmly that under no circumstances can this happen. So, I continued my journey as an assistant director. But my desire to be an actor was so strong that I could no longer function behind the camera. I got a portfolio done, showed it to my dad, and this time I had a heart-to-heart chat with him. He understood my seriousness about acting and made an announcement that I was going to act. That was one of the best moments of my life. Once the announcement was made, to my surprise, all hell broke loose. His fans reacted strongly and requested my dad to take back the announcement. Fans didn’t want me to act as they respected my dad so much that they couldn’t accept his daughter to be romancing and running around trees with other heroes. Not just the fans but also the rest of my family, relatives, and society – no one could accept me becoming an actress. My dad could not take the pressure and the negative talk about me. He said he would support me in whatever I choose other than acting. My whole life came crashing. I felt victimized and could not accept it.
A Broken Dream
One fine morning, I went to Bombay to pursue my desire. I knew no one in Bombay. Through a friend, I got a list of all the ad agencies and distributed my pics. Realizing how much it meant to me to be an actress, once again, my dad planned my movie career as an actress. He set up a great project and made an announcement again that I was going to be acting. The minute the news was out, thousands of my dad’s fans came to his studio with black clothes and kerosene bottles, saying that they were going to burn themselves if he did not take back the announcement he made about me. Padmalaya studio was filled with fans staging a dharna. My dad had no choice but to take back the announcement. This was devastating to me because I was not even given the opportunity to act just because I was a girl. I couldn’t understand that this could happen in this day and age. I could not understand the circumstances and the events that were taking place. I started asking– why is this happening to me again and again. Nothing made sense to me. I understood how big and respected my dad was, how big his image was. He was like a demi-God to his fans. So I tried my best to accept my fate and give up the idea to be an actress. But my obsession with becoming an actor only grew stronger with each hurdle. When another offer came, I discussed it with my dad and convinced him. This time we didn’t make any announcement. But it did not work out again because that was when Mahesh was entering the industry as a hero. We all knew Mahesh was going to be a superstar. He was a born star. He was acting since he is a four-year-old. I dreamt of his career even before I dreamt of mine. His career is more important than mine, and I can’t stand in the way. So we decided to shelve this acting project of mine.
The Journey of Self-Discovery
The idea of giving up acting was so depressing that I just couldn’t cope up. I hit the rock bottom of my life. I lost all confidence as a person. I thought I was useless, a failure. I struggled to get out of bed every morning. I couldn’t do even small things. To overcome this, I read books, attended transformational classes. They helped me to some extent but could not give me all the answers. One night, just out of sheer frustration, I started praying. This prayer went into deep meditation. For the first time in my life, I found my inner wisdom. When I was meditating, it didn’t matter about me being an actress or not. A deep sense of gratitude and peace has filled me, making me feel complete. That’s when I realized that happiness is within my own self. Realizing the great potential of meditation, I learned formal meditation. As I meditated more, I realized that there was an internal world of thoughts and beliefs inside me. I started being more aware of my thoughts, feelings, and emotions. With this awareness, my self-confidence grew. I discovered a simple, profound secret – if you want to change your life, change your thoughts.
As I started meditating regularly, I understood my belief about acting was contradictory to what I wanted. I want to be an actress, but somewhere I had this incorrect belief that it was not respectable for girls to act. For the first time in my life, I became aware of it. The minute I realized this belief in me, I gradually started changing my belief to – “it is okay for women to be in the movies. They can contribute to good cinema, and that’s respectable”. Once I started changing my belief, I developed confidence, and this confidence gave me enough courage to make and act in a small film called “show” secretly.
Winning National Award
When I saw myself on the screen, and my desire to act was fulfilled, I was on cloud 9. I cannot express that feeling. My dream and obsession of years are fulfilled. Icing on the cake was this movie “show” got national award. This was a big moment for me. The minute my dad knew about my national award, he called for a press meet and announced how proud he was of me. Congratulations, words of praise from the same people who stopped me earlier rained on me. I achieved what I wanted with respect, without hurting anyone and without ruining my dad‘s reputation.
My journey as a film maker
What next? I was happy for sure, but I felt being an actress was limiting, and there was so much more I could give to filmmaking. I had a rich heritage from my dad. I decided I will carry forward the family craft of storytelling that inspires people. I felt a deep calling to be a filmmaker, and with this, I put a project together with the powerhouse of best talents onboard- Mahesh Babu, AR Rahman, Ameesha Patel, and SJ Surya. I didn’t imagine even in my wildest dreams that this movie would be a flop. So when it flopped, it hurt me. Failure hurts badly. Now a new desire set in motion. It was to make a commercially hit film. That was true success for me at that point in my life, and I got into action. Pokiri happened. This movie was the industry‘s biggest hit. I was super happy because I experienced awards, rewards, money, commercial success. After I achieved commercial success, I wondered if I was happy. Then I realized the cliché – “happiness is not a destination but a journey.” I realized Hits and flops, ups and downs are part of life, and what truly matters is living every minute of life with love, grace, and gratitude. This understanding gave me a new vision for my life.
Coming to my family, I am blessed with a great husband like Sanjay. It was love at first sight. I know it sounds filmy, and I have only seen it in movies, but trust me, it does happen in real life. The only concept I knew was arranged marriage. I didn’t even dream or think that love marriage was even an option for me. But love can hit you like there is no tomorrow. My dad and the rest of the family were against our love as Sanjay, and I are from different castes. It took me seven years to convince my family, and with the blessings of our families, we are married. Sanjay is my best friend, my soul mate, and my perfect partner. Sanjay and me are strong individuals but stronger as a unit. – A single unit and unshakable team. We regard, admire, and respect each other. We are a team. We work together and support each other in achieving our goals.“Making the decision to have a child -it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body”- Elizabeth stone. When Janu was born, I cannot compare it to anything else in my life. Achievements, awards, hits fade in comparison. None of these can even come close to that great feeling.
The way you love your parents, your brother, sisters, husband – it’s all different, and the way you love your child is something else. It’s totally unconditional, and I would compare it to the way God loves us. It’s the highest form of love. For the first time, I understood how much my parents loved me, and my love and gratitude towards them only increased. My daughter is my biggest teacher and bringing her up is a great joy. I cut down on my work so that I can spend more time with my daughter and enjoy those formative years.
My life vision became having fulfilment in every area of my life – love and personal relationships, social life, character, health, spiritual life, prosperity, career, and I realized this is true success. I wanted to master every area of my life to fulfill my potential as a human. My life transformed phenomenally in all aspects as I started living my life vision. With my new vision of mastering every aspect of my life, my family became my priority. On the material front, I have been blessed with so much success and abundance. My health and fitness mattered to me. After I tasted and experienced the transformation in my own life, now I made it my mission to give back and serve others.
I have dedicated 32 years of my life to personal development, meditation, and learning various transformative tools and techniques. With 10,000 hours of meditation and guidance from renowned teachers,I have positively impacted the lives of many students. My mission is to empower millions of individuals to cultivate happiness, health, prosperity, and spiritual well-being in their lives. I aim to inspire transformative change and guide people towards a balanced and fulfilling existence.
My vision is a world where every individual recognizes their innate power to empower themselves and live a truly fulfilled life. Through this vision, I aspire to inspire and guide others to unlock their unlimited potential and experience the joy of living a life filled with purpose, passion, and fulfilment. Together, we can achieve great things. Let’s work towards building a brighter future, one step at a time. I am here to support you and encourage you on your journey. Let’s stay connected and make progress together. To your wellness,