As the daughter of 1980s actors Sumeet Saigal and Shaheen, and the grand-niece of Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu, Sayyeshaa’s pedigree is unquestionable. The 19-year-old talks about her big break in Ajay Devgn’s Shivaay.
How did you bag Shivaay?
Ajay Devgan spotted me. I had gone to his office just for a general meeting; I didn’t know Shivaay was being planned then. He saw my pictures and liked them. He said he was directing a film called Shivaay and he wanted me to audition for it. That was my first audition ever; my first ever experience before the camera. I had never seen a film camera before that. Fortunately, he liked the audition.
The film also stars another heroine Erika Kaar. Does your character have adequate importance?
Every character that has been portrayed in the film is important because even if one of them were not in the film, it will fall apart. My character is important because she supports Ajay’s character throughout the film in solving the conflict.
Do you see yourself as a star kid whose entry into films was a given?
I have had a very non-filmy upbringing. We never even had a film magazine coming home. Whether it was my grandparents or parents, when we would sit down and talk, it would be about travelling to different places and other experiences. The conversation wouldn’t be about films all the time. But from the time I was very young, I have been very passionate about dancing and about films in general— that’s how I probably got inclined towards movies... and an acting career happened. I don’t think it was only because of my family connections.
Ideally what you would have liked to make your film debut with an action film?
This was the most unexpected genre. I didn’t think that I would debut in an action-drama. I thought I would do some love story in the fields of Switzerland, a Yash Chopra sort of movie. But I was very happy when Shivaay came my way not only because it’s a big film but also because Ajay is directing himself — that doesn’t happen often. Moreover, when he told me about my character, I related to her quite a lot since she is similar to what I am in person.
For a newcomer, was Ajay Devgan a strict director on the set?
Not at all. He the most chilled-out person; very calm. Even if there is stress, he doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable in any way.
Is it intimidating romancing a superstar like Ajay Devgan or would you have been more comfortable pairing with a younger actor?
I would have always started with Ajay. I would never turn the clock back. He makes you feel very comfortable. He looks great and is a superb actor.
What is your relationship status?
No one approached me, because in school I was the most studious person and now I am focused in films. I have had no time for anyone to approach me, unfortunately (laughs).
What do you have to say about the competition between Shivaay and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil?
Honestly, both the films are good, both are going to be watched and Diwali is a holiday season so many people will be going to the theatres. If both are good then both will do well.
Will you watch Ae Dil Hai Mushkil?
I’ll watch it, why not? I liked the songs... but Shivaay first.
Is Karan Johar on your wish list as a director?
Definitely. He is a very good director and has made memorable films. If he considers me, why not?