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This weekend’s south Indian film is a case of history repeating itself.

Actress Meena debuted in 1982 at the age of four with the Tamil film Nenjangal, and she went on to become a star, acting opposite the likes of Rajnikanth and gaining prominence in all four south Indian languages.

Over three decades later, her four-year-old daughter Nainika stars in her first film, Theri.

This was not planned, says Meena.

“When the production house approached me with a role for Nainika, I was not keen initially. But they persisted and assured me that Nainika would be well taken care of,” says the Drishyam actress.

“Having been in the industry, I am aware of the hard work and I was not sure if Nainika [was] ready for it. However, the role is a significant one, where she shares space with Vijay throughout the film,” she added.

Meena was doubtful about how director Atlee would be able to manage Nainika on the sets, but the young director and Nainika both surprised her.

Most of the shooting was done during holidays so Nainika did not miss many classes. On other days, mother and daughter did their lessons on the sets.

“Nainika is unaware of all the hype surrounding her. All she wants is to watch the film with her teachers,” adds Meena, who will be working on a Malayalam film opposite Mohan Lal soon.