Mani Ratnam's films are always ahead of their time - Dayana Erappa

Model Dayana Erappa, who has flaunted creations of ace designers like Tarun Tahiliani and Manish Malhotra, is set to make her acting debut with Tamil film "Chekka Chivantha Vaanam". She says its director Mani Ratnam makes films that are ahead of their time.

The National Award-winning filmmaker has many admirers across the globe who love his craft. Dayana is one of them. "I love all his movies. They are always way ahead of their time. 'Alaipayuthey', 'Mouna Ragam', 'Thalapathi' and 'Roja' are some of my all-time favourite films," Dayana told IANS in an email interview.

So how did she get to be a part of his film?

"It happened overnight through a call and I came to Mumbai for auditions. The second round of audition was in Chennai with Mani Sir. It went well. In a couple of days, they got back confirming the role I auditioned for. I never thought it would be the lead role and when I got a confirmation call, I was overwhelmed," she recalled.

Did she find Mani Ratnam intimidating?

"Initially I was intimidated, but he made me so comfortable and it was like a breeze to work with him," said the actress.

She got to learn a lot from him.

"Considering he is one of the ace directors and I am a newcomer, with every move he makes on the set, there is something new to learn. There is something different about his craft, the way he conducts himself on a movie set, the way he treats each and every individual on the set.

"He is a man of vision and mission on set, he exactly knows what he wants from a particular character and has the ability to make sure the artiste portrays the same on camera."

She plays Chaaya, who is a free spirited and adventurous girl, in the crime thriller.

"Chekka Chivantha Vaanam" also features actresses Jyothika, Aditi Rao Hydari and Aishwarya Rajesh. 

"It's always amazing to share space with such fine actors and I'm privileged to have such a great experience in my debut. More than comfortable, I was overwhelmed," said Dayana, who hails from Karnataka. 

Was there any problem in getting the Tamil dialogues right?

"I grew up watching Tamil movies and I am surrounded by many Tamilians. So, talking in Tamil was not difficult at all. I am very familiar with the language," she said.

Generally, people say models can't act. What's her take?

"Time and again it has been proved wrong. Right from Deepika (Padukone) to Anushka Sharma, everyone has moved from being a model to an actor. They are doing such a great body of work. I think it's a myth," she said.

She is open to more acting offers, but won't quit modelling. 

"I will definitely walk and do campaigns for my favourite designers, but will definitely love to lean towards acting and explore more," said Dayana.

Is there any specific film industry that she wants to be a part of? 

"I wouldn't classify film industry as per regions and I would prefer to be an actor who can get into the skin of a character irrespective of any language or region," she said.

- By Natalia Ningthoujam For IANS  (Natalia Ningthoujam can be contacted at [email protected])