It is 10 p.m. in Mumbai. Isha Talwar is returning in a car to her home, near Juhu, after a 11-hour shoot for Bacardi, with Taha Shah, an upcoming Bollywood actor. But she is in good spirits. Because her debut film, Thattathin Marayathu , has got a thumbs-up from the audience.
Isha plays Aisha, a Muslim girl, who has been living in Thalassery all her life. She is a small-town girl whose mother passed away when Aisha was very young, says Isha. Aisha has a father [played by Sreenivasan], and an uncle [Ramu]. It is a protective, rather than a conservative Muslim family. The elders let Aisha go to college. Which is how she falls in love with Vinod [Nivin Pauly]. So, it is a campus love story, she adds.
So how did a Mumbai-based model, who does not speak Malayalam, get a break in Mollywood? I had been modelling for Dhathri Fairness Cream, says Isha. The cinematographer, Jomon T John, recommended my name to Vineeth [Sreenivasan].
They met up at Kochi. Isha did a screen test, and passed. In order to prepare for the role, she learnt her dialogues from a Malayalam teacher, Brinda Nair, in Mumbai and got help from her Keralite friends. I also had to learn how to do the namaaz, and play the guitar, says Isha. My voice was not much of a concern, because the dubbing was going to be done by actress Apoorva Bose. ...