'Luck favours the brave,” says Lenaa as she sits down for an interview with Onmanorama. And she has every reason to believe so.The actor, who has proved her versatility by playing some interesting and memorable characters on screen, is busy trying out other aspects of filmmaking like scriptwriting and directing. Lenaa also recently lent her voice to Raveena Tandon's character in KGF2, and Malayalam movie buffs appreciated her effort.
Lenaa, who honed her filmmaking skills during the pandemic induced lockdown by attending online workshops and masterclasses, said that she has locked the script and is in the pre-production stage of her film.
“One needs to be technically skilled to become a filmmaker. Being an actor is also technical, but it is an individual pursuit. Filmmaking is an individual and joint pursuit. I got time to attend several online courses during the lockdown, which has helped me a lot. During this process, I wrote down a script, which I felt was good. When I showed it to my filmmaker friends, they said it was good (to be made into a film),” she said.
The film is expected to start rolling next year, for the time being, she is tight-lipped about further details. “I think a project needs to be worked on and not talked about,” said Lenaa.
The 'Left Right Left' actor has also co-written the upcoming movie 'Olam' directed by V S Abhilash. Despite all these, Lenaa has not taken any break from the acting schedule. She will soon be seen in 'Aadujeevitham' and 'Two Men', among others. In 'Article 21', she plays a ragpicker, a role for which she underwent a massive makeover.
What about her fling with dubbing? Does she see herself doing a lot of this? “I don't think I will be giving voice to another actor anytime soon. Dubbing for KGF2 happened because Sanker Ramakrishnan wanted someone who could deliver fluent dialogues in Hindi, English and Malayalam. I am so glad I could lend my voice to Raveena Tandon (who plays the prime minister in KGF2). I have been a fan of her and songs like 'Tip Tip Barsa Paani' in 'Mohra',” she said, adding that KGF2 rose the bar for other language films dubbed in Malayalam.
“In the past, the translation of the dialogues of the dubbed movies was bad as these projects were done on a low budget. The situation in KGF2 was different. The Malayalam version was treated as a Malayalam film itself. If you were to translate the dialogues, it would lose the punch of the Kannada version. I had to take a lot of breaks in between dubbing for the film because each dialogue was so power-packed,” she said.
Lenaa, who is receiving good reviews for her dialogue delivery, says it took her some years just to get her timing for the dialogues right. “Now, when I look back, I realise it was bad. Today, however, you can't afford to be bad. Your acting has to be world-class,” she said.
Though she had shifted away from the cinema to pursue clinical psychology after debuting in 'Sneham' 24 years ago, she came back through 'Kootu' starring 'Nandanam' fame Aravind Akash.
“It was during those years when I interned as a clinical psychologist that I realised I am an actor,” says Lenaa, who has been working with both the old and younger crop of directors. “It is not a conscious decision. But I think I am a very lucky actor,” she said.