It’s all about the Mani!

Imagine receiving a sudden phone call from the offices of one of India’s finest filmmakers — feels surreal doesn’t it? This dreamlike high is what Kodava beauty Dayana Erappa felt when she got a call from Mani Ratnam’s production house Madras Talkies. The model-turned-actor will be seen in the director’s latest venture Chekka Chivantha Vaanam, whose trailer was released to a massive response yesterday. Dayana reveals, “I got this call last July. I cross-checked and found out that it was genuine. I was asked to send my pictures, but they didn’t get back to me for three months and suddenly one day, they asked me to go to Mumbai and audition for the film. I wasn’t sure if I’d get the role, but after a month or so, I was told that Mani Sir liked the audition tape and he’d like to meet me and I’d have to audition again.” 

After her rendezvous with the legendary filmmaker, Dayana was thrilled to bits and didn’t even ask the director what her role would be. “I was like – this is Mani sir’s film and I’ll do whatever role I get. When they released the title of the movie with the cast details, I realised that I’d be playing one of the leads,” smiles Dayana whose debut movie is set to hit screens on September 28th.

A family drama, the flick boasts of a huge star cast including Prakash Raj, Arvind Swami, Arun Vijay, Vijay Sethupathi, Aditi Rao Hydari and Jyothika. Dayana, who’s paired opposite Simbu in the film, says, “I have no words to describe my experience of working with Mani Sir. I was very nervous as I don’t know much about how movies work. But we did have workshops in Chennai. When you’re working with Mani sir, you realise that he knows how to get it out of an actor – it made my life easy and it was easy for him as I think he knew me. We had a couple of rehearsals in Chennai before the shoot and he understood how I’d grasp things. With experience comes learning and it was lovely working with the entire team – the DOP, the Assistant Directors and of course my co-actor Simbu,” she raves.

As she talks about her early days, Dayana reveals that she did her schooling in her hometown Coorg, her pre-university in Mysore and her college in Bengaluru. “I moved to Mumbai in 2012 after Miss India and I’ve been modeling for seven years now. Movies on the other hand, happened by chance. My close circle of people would force me to do acting, but I didn’t know I could act. I’m also tall and dusky and don’t fit the typical fair-skinned heroine narrative,” she says.

Not wanting to jump into anything right now, Dayana reveals that she wants to try all genres and doesn’t want to be typecast in one. As for languages, she says, “I can speak Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi. I know Tamil as I grew up listening to my Dad converse in the language with people at our estates back home and also, our caretakers would speak the language. I used to watch a lot of Tamil and Malayalam movies too,” says the actress, who feels ‘just lucky’ to be doing a Mani Ratnam film as her very first one. 

After her rendezvous with the legendary filmmaker, Dayana was thrilled to bits and didn’t even ask the director what her role would be. “I was like — this is Mani Sir’s film and I’ll do whatever role I get. When they released the title of the movie with the cast details, I realised that I’d be playing one of the leads,” smiles Dayana whose debut movie is set to hit screens on September 28.

A family drama, the Tamil flick boasts of a huge star cast including Prakash Raj, Arvind Swami, Arun Vijay, Vijay Sethupathi, Aditi Rao Hydari and Jyothika. Dayana, who’s paired opposite Simbu in the film, says, “I have no words to describe my experience of working with Mani Sir. I was very nervous as I don’t know much about how movies work. But we did have workshops in Chennai. When you’re working with Mani Sir, you realise that he knows how to get it out of an actor – it made my life easy and it was easy for him as I think he knew me. We had a couple of rehearsals in Chennai before the shoot and he understood how I’d grasp things. With experience comes learning and it was lovely working with the entire team – the DOP, the assistant directors and of course my co-actor Simbu,” she raves.

As she talks about her early days, Dayana reveals that she did her schooling in her hometown Coorg, her pre-university in Mysore and her college in Bengaluru. “I moved to Mumbai in 2012 after Miss India and I’ve been modelling for seven years now. Movies on the other hand, happened by chance. My close circle of people would force me to do acting, but I didn’t know I could act. I’m also tall and dusky and don’t fit the typical fair-skinned heroine narrative,” she says.

Not wanting to jump into anything right now, Dayana reveals that she wants to try all genres and doesn’t want to be typecast in one. As for languages, she says, “I can speak Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi. I know Tamil as I grew up listening to my Dad converse in the language with people at our estates back home and also, our caretakers would speak the language. I used to watch a lot of Tamil and Malayalam movies too,” says the actress, who feels ‘just lucky’ to be doing a Mani Ratnam film as her very first one.

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