She earned rave reviews for her performance as a blind and deaf girl in the critically acclaimed Black, but 14-year-old Ayesha Kapoor says she wasn't able to relate to her character of a conservative Kashmiri girl in her latest film Sikandar.
"It was hard for me to relate to my character in the film since I'm a completely different in real life. Nasreen, my character, is conservative. That's the opposite of me," Ayesha told IANS.
"From a very young age, I have lived in an international community. My friends are from all over the world. I get to meet people from different cultures. That's made me quite modern. Also, I am half German, so my thinking is very different," she added.
Directed by Piyush Jha, Sikandar released Friday and has got mixed reviews. In the film, Ayesha plays protagonist Parzaan Dastur's best friend Nasreen.
Ayesha says another problem was that she isn't fluent in Hindi and had to really work on her dialogues. She had to do quite a lot of preparations to make her character look real in the movie, which also stars R. Madhavan and Sanjay Suri.
"We did quite a few preparations for me to get the hang of my character. I attended a workshop in Delhi. That time for me it was mainly working on the lines and also understanding how a Kashmiri school girl would walk and talk and how she wears her dupatta...all those nitty-gritties," the young actress explained.
"Also to understand things better, I went to Kashmir a week earlier than the shooting schedule. I visited the schools there and interacted with school girls to understand things," she added.
The film revolves around teenage boy Sikandar Raza (Parzan), who dreams of playing football at the national level, but his life changes when he finds a gun lying on the road. Despite warnings from Nasreen, he picks up the gun and his life is never the same again - he enters into the darker side of his nature.
So, would Ayesha like to pursue acting as a full-fledged career later in life?
"Acting is a passion for me. I love to be in front of the camera. I really hope in the future I can continue acting and get good opportunities," Ayesha said.
Asked how she got interested in acting at such a young age, Ayesha said it came to her naturally.
"Acting has come naturally to me. I never did any acting classes. I never even tried to get into movies. Everything just happened. I feel...something when it's meant to be, it will just happen, that's how I believe films and me happened," she said.
"It's so strange that I literally lived in the middle of the jungle, in the south of India. Nobody had heard of me before in any way. Then Sanjay Leela Bhansali just came across a picture of mine and somehow he liked me and then called me up. I went to Mumbai and had a small audition. I was on (for 'Black) and it changed so much for me. It was destiny," Ayesha added.