Despite the future looking rather bleak and uncertain amidst the lockdown, the one person who is relishing a well-deserved golden run is Saiyami Kher. A month after featuring in Anurag Kashyap’s Choked: Paisa Bolta Hai, the actor has put forth a brilliant performance in Amazon Prime’s latest show Breathe: Into the Shadows. “This is the first time I am being appreciated for the work I have done. But I don’t have the sense of ‘Hey, I have arrived!’ It’s taken four years, [after my first film, Mirzya, 2016], to get celebrated filmmakers like Anubhav Sinha, Imtiaz Ali and Zoya Akhtar to reach out and compliment my work. I have a bittersweet feeling. Right now, while there is so much love coming our way, we are longing to cherish this feeling collectively in each other’s company,” says the actor who hoped to celebrate the adulation with co-stars Abhishek Bachchan, Amit Sadh and Nithya Menen.
Interestingly, Kher signed Breathe even before Choked, but it is serendipity that the two released in close proximity. “Like most, I had thoroughly enjoyed the first season [of Breathe]. When you work with someone like Abhishek, you feel encouraged to do your best. So far, I have worked with contemporaries like Roshan [Mathew, co-star from Choked] and Harsh Varrdhan [Kapoor]. [In comparison, Abhishek] has way more experience, yet a calm demeanour. It was a learning experience seeing how he does not let his surname interfere on set. Work around him was fun, especially since we bonded over our love for football,” says the actor as she acknowledges being a sports buff.
As the discussion around the toxic star structure of the industry came to the fore in the last one month, it was imperative to talk about how far Kher has come in her career. After the debacle of Mirzya, the actor was dropped unceremoniously from projects including a Mani Ratnam film for which she had completed costume trials.
Partly gratified, and presumably vindicated, the actor says nothing succeeds like success. “I believe in innovating to keep myself happy. With OTT platforms, avenues for actors like me have widened. During Mirzya, people had hyped me up given the scale of the film and the launch of the star kid attached to it. But, coming from a small town, I was aware that this industry is fickle. Success and failures should never be taken seriously. I am overwhelmed about Choked, but I will never forget the people who backed me when Mirzya failed. Projects will and won’t work, but my biggest learning is to let failure make you better, as taught by Anurag sir and my guru Adil Hussain. Remind yourself that you started acting because you like acting, not because you wanted the fame or money. Those are obvious byproducts but not your end goal. It was a tough phase until Breathe came along, Choked and Special Ops happened.”
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