Sayyeshaa: When I’m part of a film, you can be rest assured that it will be family-friendly
The actor, whose first rural subject, Kadaikutty Singam, is getting released this Friday, talks about her choice of films
It's not every day that a one-film-old actor can boast of three films in her kitty – all with established actors. Her debut was in Telugu, and she followed it up with a Hindi film, but Sayyeshaa feels it is in Tamil cinema – with last year’s Vanamagan -- that she truly found her footing. "I wasn't sure if the audience would accept me. I can see their love now and I'm really grateful for that," says Sayyeshaa. The actor, the grandniece of Bollywood veterans Saira Banu and Dilip Kumar, now has Junga and Ghajinikanth ready for release, apart from, of course, Kadaikutty Singam starring Karthi that’s getting released this week.
She begins the conversation by calling herself “lucky” for having bagged three big films so early in her career. "Vanamagan gave me the right platform to showcase both my acting and dancing ability. I have to thank director Vijay anna for that opportunity. In all my upcoming three films, I’ve got different roles," she says. Curiously enough, she was working on all three films simultaneously. "It was quite difficult. I was shooting day and night, and traveling incessantly. Sometimes, I didn't sleep for 48 hours at a stretch."
Sayyeshaa, who finds herself to be "very Indian at heart", has “always wanted to do a rural script”. She plays a village belle in Kadaikutty Singam. "I don't think people can visualise me as one. It's a lovely role and her characteristics are lovable. The audience will really be able to connect with her," she says. In an earlier interview about Ghajiinkanth – Sayyesha’s other upcoming film – its director Santhosh noted that the actor’s dubbing of her Tamil lines is particularly admirable. "It was harder in Kadaikutty Singam as I had to master the Southern dialect,” she says. “I understand everything in Tamil now; so that made it a lot easier. I dislike being prompted as I get confused. Some of the native words were hard but I think I managed pretty well."
She also sports a deglamourised look in Kadaikutty Singam. "It's a typical village look with half-sarees (smiles). I had to look four shades darker than my original skin tone. My hair is naturally brown; so I had to spray it black every day. I had to be painted on to look darker," says Sayyeshaa. The film has a lengthy cast list and Sayyeshaa views that to be an advantage. “I got to work with veterans like Sathyaraj sir and Bhanupriya madam. And there’s Karthi too. When you work with such actors, you're pushed to become a better actor."
Actor: Thalapathy Vijay sir
Director: Mani Ratnam sir
Genre: Intense love stories with plenty of dancing
She’s also quite happy about how Ghajinikanth has shaped up. "I got to see the film recently and I can vouch for how funny it is." How would she compare it with Santhosh's previous films, Hara Hara Mahadevaki and Iruttu Araiyil Murattu Kuththu? “Well, for one, Ghajinikanth is a family film. When a film features me, you can be rest assured that it will be a clean film."
She's also got the Vijay Sethupathi-starrer Junga which she mentions is a "different film in which I play a rich girl who's got everything in life. The good thing about these films is that I'm getting to act with really good actors. Vijay Sethupathi sir has great comic timing. We've seen him doing mass roles but even for him, it's something new here."
She isn’t yet sure if she can handle a story built on just her character. "I'm still new to the industry. It will take more time before the audience watches a film just because Sayyeshaa is a part of it."