Miryza leading lady Saiyami Kher who started her career with a Telugu film Rey, is looking nervously anxiously but confidently at her spectacular debut in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s epic love story.
“It couldn’t get any better for me. I was chosen for Mirzya after six months of auditioning. Then when I finally got selected Rakeysh Sir(director Mehra) took me to Delhi to be trained by a theatre director Dilip Shankar. I evolved as a person and as an actor over the last two years when I worked on this film,” sighs Saiyami, as she now contemplates that inevitable break from her mentor’s vigilant nurturing.
“My co-star Harshvardhan Kapoor has already moved on.He is doing a second film. I am still emotionally attached to Mirzya. I know everyone will disperse soon. But how do I deal with it? It’s like end of schooling. You know you have to move on in life. But the break is very painful”
She looks at Rakeysh Mehra as a guardian beyond her home. “He is family now. Rakeysh Sir has taught me so much.And do you know, he’s a fabulous cook. His mutton curry is to die for.”
Saiyami breaks into peals of laughter as she describes her co-star’s caution about his diet. “I am a complete foodie. Harshvardhan measures every morsel he eats. So I’d be devouring my mutton curry while he would be nibbling on his 200 grams of broccoli.”
But the two of them had an amazing time together. “Our characters function in two time zones and we shot the two stories like two different films. Rakeysh Sir shot us in one time zone first, then the other. For one of the two characters I had to get a muscular physique and look like an Amazonian warrior. Muscle is something usually associated in our films with the male actors. So it was a fun and challenge to break that mould and the myth.”
Saiyami realizes she is carrying a multiplicity of legacies on her muscular shoulders. “On one level being in aRakeysh Omprakash Mehra film is in itself a huge honour. This is the man who has made two of contemporary Indian cinema’s most influential films Rang De Basanti and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. Just to be part of his cinema is enriching beyond anything that any debutante can imagine. Without meaning to be immodest I’d like to say that I don’t know of any recent debutant who get an opportunity like Mirzya.”
Then there is the other legacy that Saiyami is even more conscious of carrying. “Gulzar Saab has written our lines dialogues and lyrics. I’ve been a fan of his poetry from the time I could read. To be able to articulate his thoughts on screen is for me a privilege to treasure. I was speaking Gulzar Saab’s lines for two years. But I finally met him just recently. It was a dream true.”
Saiyami also carries her family legacy.
“The late actress Usha Kiron was my Daadi. I was only 10 when she passed away. I knew nothing about her films and work .I knew her only as my doting grandma. It’s now that I am catching up with her work.I feel humbled by all the talent around me.”
She names Anand Rai, Zoya Akhtar, Imtiaz Ali and Ritesh Batra as the directors on her wish list. “But the one director I want to work with again and again is Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra.I want to be in all his films. I know it isn’t possible. In that case I just want to hang around on his set whenever he makes films in future, learning imbibing absorbing and observing.”