Leelai with newcomers

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You must be knowing Shiv! That lively face which anchored the IPL matches? And which was featured prominently in the Airtel and Sprite commercials? Well, the young man is the hero of Aascar Ravichandran’s Leelai. Heroine Mansi is also from the ad world, and the director is S.J. Suryah’s former assistant, Andrew Louis.

“We tried our best to find Tamil speaking actors for the urban-centric rom-com,” Andrew begins animatedly. What’s rom-com? “Romantic comedy,” he laughs. “We needed the looks of a suave city bred and we found Shiv apt. Incidentally Shiv is basically from Delhi. Neither he nor Mansi knows Tamil. All the same, you will not say the language is new to Mansi. That’s probably because the folks on her mother’s side speak the language,” says Andrew.

A debut with Ravichandran is a big opening indeed! “Of course! He listened to my story patiently the first time but it was difficult to gather what was actually going on in his mind. Two months passed before he called me over and by that time I had lost all hope. Imagine my surprise when he narrated my entire line to me again. Another month and a half passed by before he wished to meet me once again.

This time I went without much hope but when he gave the green signal, my elation was indescribable,” smiles Andrew as he re-lives the moments.

malathi rangarajan



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