Malavika Mohanan, the young Malayali actress from Mumbai who has bagged the female lead's role in Majid Majidis new India-set film Beyond The Clouds, says she is a fan of the Iranian auteur's work but wanted to do Bollywood films.
"It was all so sudden," says Malavika, disbelieving of and yet comfortable with the windfall.
"I didn't have the time to get tense and anxious. I did an audition and then I left for a brief vacation abroad. When I came back, I am told I am doing the film," she added.
A big Majidi fan, she said: "I've watched a lot of his work. I can't even say I dreamt of working with him. He seemed far too distant. I wanted to do Bollywood films. But before that could happen, this has come my way."
She knows what it means to her career.
"It's like going to another level altogether. It all happened so suddenly. Luckily, I wasn't committed to do anything else. Sometimes, a clean slate is the best option," Malavika said.
The shooting so far with the Iranian genius has been a learning curve for Malavika, who is the daughter of renowned cinematographer K.U. Mohanan.
"If Mr Majidi is shooting in Mumbai for the first time, so am I. I've lived all my life in Mumbai and yet I am getting to see parts of the city that I never knew."
There is a translator on location. But Malavika, who has a background in theatre, is increasingly getting to know that the spoken language is the least important component of cinema.
"There is so much being said and expressed between the director and me without the need of words or a translator. I've shot only for about a week so far with Mr Majidi. And I've learnt so much."
Any thoughts on getting a role that Deepika Padukone coveted?
"That would be a very arrogant thought. I don't think of what came before me. I am just focusing on getting my character right. I know I'll be watched all over the world. It's a big responsibility."
Beyond The Clouds is being described by the makers as a beautiful story centered around a brother-sister relationship. The film also marks the debut of Shahid Kapoor's brother Ishaan Khatter.