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The big switch


A glorious academic record later, engineers, IITians and IIM graduates test the creative waters of Telugu cinema.


Shyam Benegal moved to cinema after a stint in advertising and Nagesh Kukunoor was the toast of Hyderabad when he chucked his job as a chemical engineer in the US to make Hyderabad Blues. Mani Ratnam raised eyebrows when he took to cinema after an MBA. Now, the industry presents a different picture with engineers, and IIT and IIM alumni pursuing careers as actors, playback singers, technicians and animation experts.

The tech brigade

Dipa Shah

Parents don't squirm when their children shift gears to cinema after an enviable academic track record. Employers too are open to the idea of youngsters moonlighting for a stint in cinema. Meet the new breed.

* Sridhar Reddy, of Madhura Entertainments, is from REC Warangal (230 rank) and then did his M.Tech from IIT. He has taken a six-month break from the software firm where he is working to write his script, which he will eventually direct.

* Playback singer Sravana Bhargavi, all of 20, is a fourth year B.Tech, electronics and instrumentation student at Vignyandeshmukhi. She has already sung for Boni, Ride, Tejam, Vesavi Selavallo, Ramdev, Chapter 6, Putrudu and Non Stop.

Piaa Bajpai

* The cast and crew of a yet untitled film from Suresh Productions boasts of IIT and IIM alumni. Director Ajay Bhuyan, an alumnus of IIT and IIM, did a course in filmmaking from New York University and worked with Procter & Gamble. Ajay is also expected to direct Naga Chaitanya in one of his future ventures. Cinematographer Gyanshekar is from Satyajit Ray Institute of Arts and won an award at the Cannes. The film's hero Vipin was a classmate of Ajay at IIM. He then studied at the Lee Strasbourg Institute. Aryan, another hero in the film, is a DJ. Vega, the cute girl in who acted in Saroja, is from IIM, Bangalore. Gauri Pandit who was seen in Andhrudu with Gopichand, has completed her MBA and the film's producer has a masters in literature.

* Aditya Babu, who is the one of the youngest producers at 21, is a B.Tech graduate. After producing Sontham, Jagadam and Arya2, he is making his acting debut in Chalaki. He already acted as a hero in a Kannada film which is a remake of Aadavari Matalaku Ardhalu Verule.

Lens view

* Malini Dasari, a cinematographer, secured a seat in IIM Bangalore after graduating from St. Anns, Mehdipatnam. After an MBA in marketing and work experience at Xerox India (Modi Xerox now) for more than a year, she worked as a consultant for CRY (Child Relief and You), during which she chanced upon an advertisement inviting applications for courses offered by the Pune Film Institute. After a three-year diploma course, she freelanced for Bollywood before turning cinematographer for Telugu films.

* Jayakrishna Gummadi, was drawn to cinema after seeing Mani Ratnam's Geetanjali and studied fine arts at FTI. While studying photography in JNTU, his father bought him his first camera and this opened up new vistas for him. Jayakrishna apprenticed with Samir Reddy before working independently on Mr and Mrs Sailaja Krishnamurty, a Malayalam film titled Winter, Ram and Okkadunnadu. At the moment, he is doing Andari Bandhuvaiyya with Padma Priya and Sharwanand.

Santosh Samrat

* Four actors have made their debut in Ninnu Kalisaka directed by Siva Nageswara Rao. Dipa, a Gujarati, was a topper in economics in college and then helped her dad with his business. After some resistance, her father gave in to her interest in films. Her mother, who gave up being a singer for the family, was delighted. She plays a fashion designer in her first film produced by Usha Kiron.

* Santosh Samrat decided he would be an actor after completing Plus Two. He wanted a strong education background thought. He completed his masters in electrical engineering from Florida, uploaded his video on YouTube, and was referred to a director by a friend. Santosh is now acting in a film with Krishnudu.


* Chaitanya Krishna passed out as an engineering grad in electronics and communication from SRKR College, Bheemavaram. In this Usha Kiron film, he plays a person who is in love with theatre, pursuing it while his friends are doing well in the US.

* Finally, there's Madhulika, an engineering graduate, making her debut with Saarai Veeraju.

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