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Chat Charming Reenu Mathew debuts with Mammootty in Lal Jose’s Immanuel. The graceful flight attendant-cum-actor has her feet on the ground

Reenu Mathew emerges from a small house in Pachalam where work on Lal Jose’s new film Immanuel is progressing. She has just finished shooting a scene. Dressed in an ordinary sari, her hair pulled back in a no-fuss bun, Reenu is getting acquainted with Anne, the character she is portraying in the film. “I play Mammootty’s wife and the mother of a child,” she says. She has a sheaf of papers in her hand.

“These are my dialogues. It has been only a few days since shooting began and I am still getting a hang of it,” she says.

For someone who spends the most part of her life in the air-conditioned confines of passenger flights, (Reenu works as cabin crew for Emirates), she seemed perfectly at ease under the glaring arc lights. “I have been a model before and I have done a few short films, so facing the camera was not too nerve-wracking,” she says. But the very first shot she had to give was, Reenu admits, the longest and perhaps the hardest.

Ten years ago, Lal Jose had picked Reenu as his heroine opposite Mammootty for Pattalam . “I didn’t do it then, as it was exactly at that time that I got a job in the airlines and I had to take it up,” she laughs.

Coincidentally, her acting debut happened with the same team—Lal Jose-Mammootty. “It looks like she was destined to make her film debut with us,” says Lal Jose.

Reenu considers herself lucky. “To be able to get another offer from the same director is pure luck. A break like this is something that so many people desire and I feel honoured,” she says.

Her role is rather deglamourised – very little make up – no lipstick, just a hint of eye-liner. “It is a story of a lower-middle class family and the tough times they fall upon. I am a housewife and all my shots are with Mammookka. My character’s concerns revolve around the worries of family life,” she says. “You know, with a role like this, I guess more people will be able to identify with my character. I also think these are the kind of characters that live on in people’s minds,” she says.

Reenu says it is too early to plan a career in films. She has not quit her job and has to join work soon. “It is just that I have to see what the reaction is to my acting and then, let us see how it goes,” says the soft-spoken actor.

“Soft-spoken, yes,” she agrees, giggling. “It is because of my job. People here on the set pull my leg all the time because of this,” she says. There is a sense of serenity about her, which again, she attributes to her job. “We are trained to look pleasing and calm all the time.”

The Kottayam-born model-turned-actor says she does not plan to go back to modelling (she is 5‘7’).

“At the moment, I am just really happy to be a part of the film industry,” she says, signing off.

ANASUYA MENON

More people will be able to identify with my role

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