Bollywood was Dilip Kumar’s grand niece’s dream from childhood

Sayesha Saigal

Sayesha Saigal has undergone extensive training in dancing for 14 years. 

Sayyeshaa Saigal, who marks her debut in Shivaay says she didn’t get into movies because of her ‘filmi’ connections and it was strongly due to her childhood dream of becoming an actress.

“It happened because I truly love the camera and the arc lights. I want my dream to come true. I always wanted to be an actress. I enjoy people’s love and adulation. Even in my childhood my focus was acting,” says Sayyeshaa.

The 19-year-old  is one lucky new comer.  Rather than being the the grand niece of Bollywood legends Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu she also has a mentor in Ajay Devgan who directed her debut Shivaay and, as a family friend,  superstar Salman Khan is just a phone call away.

Daughter of actors Sumeet Saigal and Shaheen Banu, Sayyeshaa wanted to face the cameras as far back as she can remember.

She was also obsessed with dance and over the past 14 years, underwent extensive training in various styles like Odissi, Kathak, Jazz, Latin American among several others, that she learnt in India, London and South Africa.

She made her debut in Tollywood last year, in VV Vinayak’s film, Akhil, in which she played the lead role opposite Akhil Akkineni (son of Amala and Nagarjuna).

She is also brilliant in her studies. “My friends thought I was absolutely crazy to get into Bollywood but this is my passion,” Sayyeshaa says.

While Ajay has imposed restrictions about how much she can talk about her role and character in Shivaay, she says “he has been extremely kind otherwise.”

“There is absolutely no restriction on me, I haven’t signed any film deal or contract. Otherwise people impose a lot of restrictions when they launch a newcomer. But of course, if he asks me to be part of 10 films, I would be willing to do all of those. He is my family,” the young actress says. “He told me that it was a performance-oriented role and found me quite natural in front of the camera. He didn’t want anyone with a set image. May be I met all those requirements.”

As a director, Sayyeshaa describes Ajay as “accurate and technically very sound”. “He would be sitting with six cameras and if he wasn’t giving a shot, he would operate one camera himself. Because he is an actor himself, he knows what he wants from his artistes. He would tell us to be natural and say the lines just as we might in real life,” Sayyeshaa shares.

Referring to her  grand aunt Saira Banu, she says: “In her time she was one of the most glamorous and modern actresses. She wore Western outfits with such ease. Mr Dilip Kumar was so effortless and natural which was his strongest point. I would like to portray myself on screen like both of them,” she says.

There were reports that Shivaay almost cast Pakistani-born Canadian actor Ali Kazmi as part of the cast. Scheduling delays ultimately led to his opting out of the project.  This can be a stroke of luck for Ajay considering the controversy surrounding the Pakistani actors working in India.

Shivaay’s director-producer and star Ajay Devgn has stated now that he will not be working with any Pakistani artistes until the bilateral tensions are resolved. – CINEWS

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