Sayyeshaa, who has completed a year in the Tamil film industry, has made quite the blazing start. Though her debut film Vanamagan wasn’t much of a success, she went on to sign back-to-back films with popular heroes Karthi (Kadai Kutty Singam), Vijay Sethupathi (Junga) and Arya (Ghajinikanth). The 20-year-old recently also signed on for the much awaited Suriya–Mohanlal–K.V.Anand film to be produced by Lyca Productions, for which she is currently shooting in London. Ahead of the release of KKS, she spoke to us about playing a village girl for the first time, not giving auditions and the power social media has:
You are playing a village girl for the first time in KKS. What was it like to carry off a rural ‘desi’ look throughout a film?
I’m quite a simple homely girl with traditional Indian values at heart. So this look is close to my heart. It was a new and painstaking experience though, as every day I had to put on makeup about four shades darker than my original skin colour. I also had to spray my hair black as I have naturally brown hair. It has taken a lot of effort to look the part.
What were your key learnings and observations from experienced actors like Karthi, Sathyaraj, Vijay Sethupathi and Arya?
I have been fortunate to work with eminent actors in my various films. Sathyaraj Sir is very disciplined and is a pleasant person to be around. One doesn’t feel that he is the senior-most actor on set; he is that unassuming. Karthi is one of my favourite actors. I have to be on my toes and give my best in scenes with him. We coordinate well. I’m sure that he will be a wonderful director someday.
Vijay Sethupathi is such a natural actor. He drives well and has amazing control over his vehicle. I was amazed to see how effortlessly he pulled off the chase scenes in Junga. He spoke to me only in Tamil and hence I could better my Tamil-speaking skills. Arya is very focused. Although he has a humorous personality, he also has a silent serious side. The set has an automatic happy energy when he is around.
I am grateful to each of these actors for giving me the opportunity to share screen space with them.
Did you hesitate to take up Ghajinikanth with director Santhosh JP due to his reputation of creating ‘adult’ films like Hara Hara Mahadevaki and Iruttu Araiyil Murattu Kuthu?
Not at all! I have a lot of respect and affection for Santhosh. He is an extremely meticulous planner. Shooting Ghajinikanth was one of the best experiences I’ve had as everything was planned, down to the last detail. He knows exactly what he wants and doesn’t waste time shooting unnecessary footage. Ghajinikanth is a film for the family and kids, with zero ‘adult’ content.
Your ‘Sodakku’ dance video went viral in a big way. Was it an impromptu move or meant to be a tribute to your Suriya 37 co-star?
To be honest, it was completely impromptu. I liked the song and danced to it from my heart; it wasn’t choreographed! I am grateful for all the love that people give me for my dance videos.
In just your second year in Tamil films, you are doing such a big film with Suriya, Mohanlal, KV Anand, a big producer and other big names.
Yes, isn’t that wonderful? I feel fortunate and blessed. God has been kind and is making sure that I have a good resume, I guess. It’s magnanimous of Suriya sir to work with me. Sharing a single frame with Mohanlal sir is like a dream come true for me. It was completely director K V Anand sir’s call and I am here shooting for the film in London. I’m happy and grateful to him for giving me this opportunity. I have a good role but you’ll have to wait and watch as it’s all just so new.
How did the selection process happen? Did you give any auditions?
Auditions? No, I don’t think I give my best during an audition so I just don’t give any at all.
You’ve become very popular very quickly. When you look back, what do you think are your USPs or plus points that have clicked well with the Tamil audience?
Many factors actually – I got a super debut with Vanamagan, which showcased my talent. It was all thanks to director Vijay Anna. My dancing has definitely worked for the audience. The media and my fans have also been strong pillars of support.
Your fans wish to see you in a full-fledged dance film like the one your mentor, director Vijay, has made recently (Lakshmi). Any such film coming our way?
I really wish somebody would make a dance film and offer it to me.
When can we expect you to dub on your own in a Tamil film? You’ve picked up the basics fast, from what we hear at your promotional events and interviews.
I am going to attempt dubbing very soon. Let me get slightly better at Tamil.
As a new-gen heroine, how do you see social media? Is it a key tool to take your career ahead?
Without a doubt, social media is extremely powerful today. But it has got to be used with caution. It helps to be spoken about, but you also need talent to back up all these promotional efforts!