Actor Saiyami Kher says she auditioned for her debut, Mirzya like any other struggler and did not inform her aunts Shabana Azmi and Tanvi Azmi about it as she wanted to bag the film on her merit, without their help.
Saiyami comes with a film lineage, being the granddaughter of actor Usha Kiran and niece of Tanvi and Shabana, who are both National Award-winning actors. “They (family) did not know I was auditioning for Mirzya. I was called for auditions like any other struggler. I did not tell anyone, including Shabana masi and Tanvi bua about the auditions as I wanted to do things on my own. (But) it is always comforting as I have somebody to talk to when I am having a bad day,” said Saiyami.
The 24-year-old debutant says while Tanvi got quite emotional when she signed Mirzya, Shabana was assured that director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra will take good care of her. “Tanvi bua is very filmy. She cried when I signed the film. She (Tanvi) has worked with Rakyesh sir on Aks and Delhi 6 and said it would be fun working with him. “And Shabana masi said I am in good hands (referring to Mehra’s direction) and that I should just him,” she said.
Saiyami added both her aunts are extremely protective about her. After the initial auditions, Saiyami and one more girl were chosen and sent to Delhi to learn horse riding and get training under Adil Hussain. It was only after three months that Saiyami was informed that she was selected to play Sahiban.
“He (Mehra) wanted to be sure if I fit the bill. There was another girl and I, we both were sent to Delhi, we both had to learn horse riding. “That experience was amazing. For three months, I was in Delhi and I was coached by Adil Hussain and his guru Dilip Shankar,” she added.
Slated to hit cinema houses on October 7, Mirzya took quite some time in making. But for Saiyami this wait was not frustrating.
“When I was auditioning, I knew there are two of us- me and another girl. So there was 50-50 chances of doing the film. I looked at the process as a learning experience. We shot for the film for 83 days. I was choked and teary when the shoot was over as I did not want it to get over,” she said.
Saiyami said she did not feel nervous before the shoot of Mirzya, which is based on the Punjabi folklore Mirza Sahiban, as she had undergone training and rehearsals.
“Our rehearsals were so strong that when we started shooting we felt easy. He (Mehra) pampers his actors very much. He never yelled on the sets, he is so relaxed and calm while working. So, there was no burden, and stress. “The only time I felt little stressed was when I read the script and it had name of Gulzar saab. He is a legend. He is writing after 15-16 years. So I felt there is a responsibility, but Rakyesh sir made things easy for us,” she said.
The model-turned-actor made her acting debut with Telugu film Rey and she says good films matter to her, not the language they are made in.
“I don’t look at it as which language the film made in. If I get an offer to do a Chinese film, I will do it if the story is good.”
My family felt as I have grown up in Nashik, if I do a south film it will help me in opening up,” she said. After Rey, Saiyami started getting offers for more South Indian movies, but she choose to let go of them for her debut in Bollywood.