Ahaana Krishna Kumar is on cloud nine.
‘Luca’, her third film, brought to the fore the spontaneous performer lying untapped inside. The audience is loving Niharika, her character. Her earlier films were ‘Njan Steve Lopez’ and ‘Njandukalude Nattil Oru Idavela.’
‘Pathinettam Padi’, her fourth film, released last week in the UAE, has her playing Anne, a teacher of an international school. Here are excerpts from Kumar’s conversation with Gulf News tabloid!.
Q: ‘Luca’ is a big film in your career. What preparations went into playing Niharika?
A: ‘Luca’ is a milestone in my career and very special. I committed to it before ‘Nandukalude’ released. I had the script for a year and a half. Having read it so many times I know Luca and Niharika well. There were no forced preparations. I had discussions with [director] Arun Bose and was very much a crew member. And the universe worked in a way that I will naturally get it.
Q: Were there difficult moments while playing Niharika?
A: Two years before the shoot I was excited and could not wait to get on the sets. When we began, I was well prepared. This was the first time I was doing something solid, and a romantic one — the Luca-Niharika concept was so sweet. I had to do a good job. There was nothing difficult about being Niharika. I enjoyed being and delivering her lines. There was this monologue of around six minutes done in one take. After the shot everyone was quiet. I was wondering, ‘Was it bad?’ But actually all were feeling sad and stuck with the moment of the scene.
Q: Your on-screen chemistry with Tovino Thomas is great. How did the rapport happen?
A: We share a wonderful professional rapport. He gave me suggestions with no airs. We were very much the characters, since we loved our roles. On sets, while rehearsing, there was this magic which brought out the scenes well. He is a supportive co-actor, easy and fun to work with. Not to forget that he can be a prankster.
Q: What convinced you to do the kissing scene?
A: This was the first time I was doing a kissing scene. I was well sorted out with the script. I knew the character and her relationship, the close moments between Luca and Niharika. Tovino was extremely professional and the set people were respectful. It was shot like any other scene. People who watched ‘Luca’ told me that there was no awkward moment in the scene. Nor does it stand out, but blends into the story.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: ‘Pidikittapulli’ opposite Sunny Wayne with new director Jishnu. It’s a light hearted crime comedy.
Don’t miss it!
‘Luca’ releases in the UAE on July 25.
MEET ART DIRECTOR ANEES NADODI
Kakka Artisans, a Kozhikode-based group of artists, couldn’t have got a better platform. This community of artists who believe in turning trash to treasure were given a free rein on the sets of Malayalam film ‘Luca.’
With their imagination running riot, they created an interesting array of art pieces that elevated most beautifully this romantic thriller of Tovino Thomas and Ahaana Krishna Kumar.
In ‘Luca’, art is a character-dominant and well visible in every frame.
Be it the phoenix installation that Ahaana Krishna Kumar’s character is mesmerised by or Luca’s home, originality screams loud in every piece that adorns ‘Luca’s canvas.
The man behind this extravaganza sourced from junk is art director Anees Nadodi. Nadodi earlier worked in three films, ‘Sudani from Nigeria’ ‘Varathan’ and ‘Thamaasha’ but it is ‘Luca’ that is bringing in the claps.
Nadodi was called in as replacement for another art director. He joined the team, a month before the filming began.
At his first meeting with director Arun Bose and DOP Nimish Ravi, he suggested-‘Why can’t Luca be a trash artist?’ The idea won hands down and became a game changer.
“In our subsequent discussions we spoke about the colour palette,” said Nadodi. “DOP brought in references of paintings of masters Rembrandt and Van Gogh-the idea was to use bright shades for Luca’s frames and sombre tones for Akbar’s scenes.”
Nadodi being a part of Kakkan Artisans did not have to look further.
“Our community comprises of artists not only from Kerala but also from other parts of India. They explore different materials in art. Trash is our resource.”
The team set up their workshop in Kochi and visited scrap stores to see the possibilities of converting them into pieces.
“The challenge lay in exploring its potential and transforming it in ways to connect with the story,” added the former journalism teacher.
Besides designing Luca’s house to reflect the artist in him, Nadodi and team worked on installations that were set up in an open ground, Veli Ground in Kochi, for a scene to represent the Kochi Biennale.
Don’t miss the black ants made of wire!
NITHIN GEORGE IMPRESSES ON DEBUT
Life has completely changed for former television actor Nithin George. His social media is flooded with messages appreciating Akbar, the brooding policeman he played in ‘Luca.’ An interesting feedback was from a policeman who could relate to Akbar and praised the subtle acting.
‘Luca’ is George’s second film with director Arun Bose, the first being Tamil film, titled, ‘Alaiyin Thisai,’ an independent film waiting for release.
Classmates in school at Muvattupuzha, George and Bose drifted apart only to reconnect some years ago. Cinema bound them closer.
“Alayin Thisai’ boosted our confidence to go ahead with a feature, said George, who acted in television serial ‘Chakravakam.’
He was closely associated in the writing and pitching stages of ‘Luca.’ Call it Destiny, because an established actor was supposed to play Akbar’s role initially. When it did not happen, Bose pulled George on board. George credits his director and team for the applause his role is fetching him.