Former medium pacer Saiyami Kher seems to have dropped cricket and picked up Bollywood games, even though her debut, Mirzya, bombed. Excerpts of an interview with Sulabh Swachh Bharat
So what’s up next?
These days I am busy in endorsement of my modelling. Have got some offers in movies but I am not in a hurry. Mirzya was far below my expectations but that does not disappoint me. However, you know that my name has come from Sanskrit word saiyyam and these days I am actually implementing it, thereby interacting less with the media too. But soon I will come up with something good.
You wanted to be a sportsperson but how come you landed in the field of acting?
You are right. Since childhood I was interested and curious about sports. I used to play cricket and badminton. I played for the Maharashtra state cricket team also. I was a real tomboy. In an age when girls think about fashion and beauty, I was determined to build up my stamina and took to swimming and cycling. This is why I got admission in Mumbai’s St. Xaviers College on the sports quota.
Did you get offers for big screen the moment you came to Mumbai?
Not really, I decided after coming to Mumbai that I will be a professional cricketer. But I lacked the fitness level required for it. This is why even after being called for the women’s cricket team I could not be selected. For me playing at the national level was pivotal, but did not happen. On the other hand, people say I am attractive so I got offers in modelling. I have done modelling on the ramp for some big brands. I got enough publicity as a model, especially for the Kingfisher calendar.
Modeling is all about moving towards films, right?
No, it did not happen with me. During my college days I was more fascinated by theatre. I learned acting at the workshop of Nadira Babbar and Neeraj Kabir. People in the theatre circuit found my acting fine. They all encouraged me to try my luck in movies.
You are the granddaughter of yesteryear actress Usha Kiran.Then why did you begin with Telugu movies?
My father Adwait Kher and mother, Uttara Mhatre (herself a beauty pageant winner) were well known models in the eighties. My parents wanted to keep me and my elder sister away from the world of glamour; this is why they settled us in Nashik. The truth is when I got the offer of the Telugu movie ‘Rey’ I wastotally occupied in modelling. I easily agreed for acting in movies. Besides, I do not give any credit to anyone for making my career. Till today I haven’t asked for any favours from Tanvi Aunty or Shabana Aunty.
A large part of your childhood was spent working in a restaurant?
Aangan, Bombay Talkies, and Tandoor were our family’s three restaurants in Nashik. Aangan shut down but the other two were there. After school my elder sister and I used to stay there in the kitchen of the restaurant. But don’t think that we were allowed by our parents to eat anything from there. Mummy and Papa used to bring food for me from home. When we grew up, we started helping in management work like taking orders and serving food. I have done almost everything in my hotel.
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