Her photos had reached the director through two different people. Niranjana Anoop had by then appeared in one film — Loham, made by her uncle Ranjith — Ranji mama to her. Reeja aunty, a dance student of her mother’s, and Parvathi Menon, a friend of the scriptwriter Shaan, had sent it to Antony Sony, the director of C/O Saira Banu. When Sony came home to tell the story though, he spoke mostly to Manju Warrier, who is a close friend of Niranjana’s mom, and is the Saira Banu in C/O Saira Banu. Niranjana got pulled in much later, and smoothly played Arundhati, the smart collegemate of Joshua (Shane Nigam).
“He must have thought I was desperate with photos coming from everywhere,” she laughs. “It was my biggest luck, to watch legends like Maima (Manju) and Amala work.” When Parvathi Menon called her about the role, she told Niranjana there would be a kiss scene. Is she ok with that? Sure, what’s the problem there, Niranjana replied. So we see her in the middle of a Kiss of Love protest by college students, kissing Shane when there is a commotion and there is police everywhere. Later, in a scene with Manju, she has to act annoyed when it is hinted there is a little something between Shane and her. For a girl — she has just finished 12th grade — who is new in the field, Niranjana pulls off her Arundhati beautifully.
“I was never nervous. Ranji mama has taught me to always start with a clean slate and then ‘write’ on it. Otherwise all your tension would be on your face.” He is her biggest critic, and would never be satisfied. And because she had accompanied him to film sets even as a child, she is used to watching stars at work. She was never star struck. Veteran actor Revathy is also a relative — her aunt — another inspiration for Niranjana to come into movies. Have fun is the advice she gives his niece.
So it was without tension she played a 12th grade student in Mammootty’s Puthen Panam. “There were three threads in the film, one of them has me, Vishakh and Ganapathy in it. It was much fun in the sets, in Goa. Mammootty uncle would take us to dinner, and by 9.30 or 10 sent us home, so we could be fresh the next day. It is amazing how he could change from being full of fun before shooting, and then completely into character when it is time for action. Lal uncle (Mohanlal) on the other hand gets us to rehearse the scene several times before the shot.”
Niranjana’s next film is with Dhyan Sreenivasan, directed by Thomas Sebastian....