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Watching an actor play two different characters is fascinating as it brings out the finest aspects of a performer.

For the first time in her career, Nayanthara plays two roles that are like chalk and cheese in upcoming film, ‘Airaa.’

Touted as a horror tale, this is director KM Sarjun’s second film after ‘Echirakkai.’

The trailers revealed Nayanthara’s two different looks — an ordinary woman and a hip and contemporary woman.

Airaa’s story is centred around Yamuna, a video journalist who uploads paranormal stories shot live. Things take a spooky turn when she seems to be haunted by the past of her doppelganger. Bhavani, the other character that Nayanthara essays, works in the hospitality department of a hotel. Kalaiyarasan plays Bhavani’s childhood friend and lover — an ex-army man in his 30s.

When Sarjun began work on ‘Airaa’ the dual roles were not planned.

“Bhavani was developed during the scripting stage and when we found ourselves rooting for this character, we felt that Nayanthara would enhance the role as well as the story,” recalled Sarjun. “I gave [Nayanthara] a complete brief of the two characters and we had a good rapport. It was easy explaining to her as she understands filmmaking very well.”

“This is not just a horror story but envelops an emotional tale within,” said Sarjun, who found working with Nayanthara a memorable experience.

‘Airaa’ was shot in Chennai and Pollachi. Scenes narrating the story of Bhavani have been filmed in black and white.

“Working in colour is easier, as the colours of background and costumes are unaffected but when filming in black and white, a lot of work goes into choosing the colour of costumes, so that they show up.

“Designing the background frames is another area we worked on,” added Sarjun, a former IT professional who quit his career to begin afresh in cinema.

Learning the ropes of filmmaking under directors Maniratnam and Murgadoss, he went solo with ‘Echirakkai.’

‘Airaa’ produced by KJR Studios releases in the UAE on March 28.