When a dream crystallises into reality, it’s a feeling like no other.

Ask Nivetha Pethuraj, Miss India UAE, who is making her movie debut with Tamil film Oru Naal Koothu. Pethuraj studied at Dubai’s Our Own Indian High School in Al Quoz, and holds a degree in human resources management from Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh. Last year, she was crowned Miss India UAE.

An excited Pethuraj, who is now in Chennai, plays Kavya, an IT professional, in this multi-starrer directed by first-time filmmaker Nelson Venkatesan.

According to Venkatesan, Oru Naal Koothu is about Indian society’s obsession with marriage.

“Parents today rush their children into a marriage the moment they complete their education and land into a job, without even wanting to know what their dreams are,” says Venkatesan, who previously worked in radio.

“It’s a stress that parents inflict upon their children.”

Venkatesan was impressed with Pethuraj’s flawless Tamil, despite her being raised in the UAE, and offered her the role. He calls her a phenomenal actress.

Pethuraj underwent training for three days under theatre artist Kalairani to understand her character.

“Kavya is a small-town girl, unlike me,” says Pethuraj. “This role offered me scope for performance.”

She did feel nervous working opposite Dinesh, noted for his roles in Attakathi, Cuckoo and Visaranai, but the actor’s guidance put her at ease. She’ll be in the theatre to watch the first show — and the audience’s reaction.

“Besides, Nelson’s sets vibrated with positive energy and for a debutante, it made things comfortable,” adds Pethuraj, also a certified fitness trainer.

Also in Oru Naal Koothu are Malayali actress Mia George (as Lakshmi, a traditional woman from Dindigul) and RJ-turned-actress Rithvika. The supporting cast includes Bala Saravanan, Karunakaran, Charlie and Ramesh Thilak. Gokul Benoy is the cinematographer.

Oru Naal Koothu, produced by Kenanaya Films, releases in India on June 10.