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As Dulquer Salman’s onscreen sister in Vikramadityan, Sana Althaf made quite a mark. With Mariam Mukku, the Kochi actress makes her debut as a heroine. Althaf plays Salomi, a 20-year-old Anglo-Indian girl in love with Felix (Fahad Faasil).

In a telephone chat from Kerala, Althaf, a class ten student, recalled her first day on the sets of Mariam Mukku, on the beaches of Thangaserry.

“I was quite anxious sharing screen space with Fahad. Besides, with a crowd of people watching, I found it a bit difficult to get into Salomi’s character. Fahad put me at ease and as the shooting progressed I got comfortable,” she said.

“I had to bring in a 20-year-old’s maturity which is beyond my years,” added the teenager.

The romantic comedy is about a coastal fishing community that has influences of the Portuguese settlers of the past. Director James Albert’s inspiration stems from his youth on the beaches of Thangaserry in Kollam.

Althaf’s interaction with local residents of Thangaserry helped in understanding Salomi’s character better.

“Acting was never on the cards,” stated Althaf, who is fond of poetry recitation and has won several prizes in this category, including the first prize at the CBSE state level competition this year.

Another talent? Althaf holds a black belt in karate, a sport she has been pursuing since class four.

She is basking in the compliments coming her way and, of course, burning the midnight oil for her upcoming board examinations.

Malayalam script writer Albert proved himself right from his first film, Classmates, a Lal Jose film, which won the Kerala state award for best story. Albert’s third film, Evidam Swargamanu, also won a State award for best popular film. His last script was for the Lal Jose directed Ezhu Sundara Rathrikal.

Directing his next story himself, Albert took on a new challenge with Mariam Mukku.