Child actor Sara Arjun makes a mark in the Mollywood film, 'Ann Maria Kalippilaanu'
By Shevlin Sebastian
Director Midhun Manuel Thomas felt tense. Child actor Sara Arjun had just returned, along with her mother Sanya, to the set of the Mollywood film, 'Ann Maria Kalippilaanu', at Thrissur after a visit to the doctor. “He had confirmed that Sara was in the early stages of chicken pox,” says Midhun. “But such was Sara's commitment that she took her tablets, put on make-up, and was ready for the scene, although I could see that she was weak and tired.”
The struggles were well worth it. 'Ann Maria Kalippilaanu' has received the thumbs-up from critics, as well as the audience, and is on its way to becoming a hit. And one of the primary reasons is Sara, who plays an 11-year-old girl to a doctor couple, Roy (Saiju Kurup) and Teresa (Leona Lishoy). But there is tension between husband and wife, because Roy is working in the war zone at Syria, while Teresa wants him back. Ann Maria, as an only child, also misses him.
But it is the acting of Sara that impresses the most. But Midhun was not surprised. “She has been acting in advertising films from the age of two,” he says. “Before Sara came to act in my film, she acted in 'Jazbaa' with Aishwarya Rai. I had seen her in the Tamil film, ‘Deiva Thirumagal’ (2011), and had been impressed. She is 11 years old, but has an experience of nine years. And that counts.”
At the same time, the Mumbai-based Sara was extremely well prepared. “There were 81 scenes with me,” she says. “At my home, I prepared for one month, with the help of a Malayalam teacher. I knew all the dialogues in every scene. I knew what was happening before my scene and after. I never felt that anything was tough, because I was well-prepared.”
Midhun says that Sara was adept at keeping emotional continuity from one scene to another. “It was amazing to see,” he says.
Despite her smartness, it is her father Raj Arjun, a Bollywood actor as well as a theatre artiste, who looks after Sara's career. For 'Ann Maria', Midhun first narrated the story on the phone to Raj. The latter liked what he heard. Then Midhun flew over, and gave the complete script to Raj. Then the latter got it translated into Hindi, read it, and finally gave his assent.
A happy Midhun says, “Sara has been trained to be a thorough professional. If she remains in the industry, she will become a fine actress one day.” Says a confident Sara, “I am looking for tough roles in which I can challenge myself.”
(Sunday Magazine, The New Indian Express, South India and Delhi)