Dayana Erappa on Mani Ratnam's Chekka Chivantha Vaanam: 'He knew exactly how to bring out the best in me'

Haricharan Pudipeddi

June 20, 2018 15:10:13 IST

When Dayana Erappa got a call from Mani Ratnam’s production house (Madras Talkies) and was asked to mail her pictures, she thought it was a prank call. She didn’t believe until she searched on Facebook and realized that her caller indeed was associated with Madras Talkies. Even then, she wasn’t sure if she’d land the opportunity to work with the Roja filmmaker. However, destiny willed otherwise and when she was eventually signed for upcoming multi-starrer Chekka Chivantha Vaanam as one of the leading ladies, it came as a surprise to the popular international model. “I was never really serious about acting. I’m tall and dusky and didn’t think I was fit for cinema. So, to make my acting debut with a Mani Ratnam film was nothing short of a dream,” Dayana told Firstpost in an exclusive chat.

Recalling her first interaction with Ratnam, she said it happened in his office in Chennai. “I gave my auditions in Mumbai. Siva sir and Shaad Ali, long-time associates of Mani sir, oversaw the whole audition process. Few weeks later, I got a call from Mani sir’s office and was asked to come to Chennai. I went and met Mani sir; he was extremely friendly and made me very comfortable. He gave me a part of the script and we did a reading. At that point, I still wasn’t sure if I was signed for the project. I went back to Mumbai and a couple of weeks later I was informed I’ve been selected.”

Dayana Erappa. Image via Facebook

Dayana Erappa. Image via Facebook

Even after she was signed, Dayana didn’t have any clue about her role. “I didn’t even know who the other actors of the cast were. I knew Rahman sir and Santosh Sivan sir were part of the film. Neither did I know anything about my role nor anything about the film. But I knew I was in safe hands when signed the project. It was finally in December 2017, when they officially announced the cast of the project, did I even know I was playing one of the leads.” Dayana didn’t divulge much information about her role. She said she plays a fun and adventurous girl. “It’s a role very close to my real self,” she said, adding she had to undergo couple of weeks of workshop in Chennai before she joined the sets.

Dayana is paired with Simbu in the film, which also stars Arvind Swami, Vijay Sethupathi, Jyothika, Aditi Rao Hydari and Aishwarya Rajesh. On working with Simbu, she said a lot of misinformed, pre-conceived notions about him were laid to rest. “I heard a lot of stories about him from people. But I never judge someone based on someone else’s opinion. When I finally met Simbu, I saw exactly the opposite of what I heard about him. He was always on time on sets an extremely professional. He’d not take more than two takes for a scene. Even when I’d take more takes for a scene, he was very understanding and helpful,” she added.

Calling working with Ratnam “a treasured memory”, Dayana said she was amazed by his faith in his actors. “He’s launched some of the biggest actors like Aishwarya Rai and Manisha Koirala. It’s amazing how he chooses his actors. When he sees someone, he knows how to extract the best out of them. He exactly knew how to bring out the best in me.”

Dayana says she’d love to work with Ratnam again. “I told him I don’t even mind working with him again as an assistant director on his project.”

Tipped to be an action-thriller, it is rumored that Chekka Chivantha Vaanam features Arvind Swami, Simbu and Arun Vijay as brothers. Originally, the film was supposed to star Fahadh Faasil as one of the leads. Following the delay in the commencement of the project, he opted out and was eventually replaced by Arun Vijay, who has joined hands with Ratnam for the first time in his career. The film also stars Prakash Raj, Jayasudha and Appani Sarath among others in key roles.

Updated Date: Jun 20, 2018 15:10 PM