Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra has found his Sahibaan for his love tale Mirza Sahibaan in Saiyami Kher, niece of talented actress Tanvi Azmi and granddaughter of yesteryear's leading leady Usha Kiran. The director says Saiyami was not chosen for her illustrious acting lineage.
He chose her after months of intensive search and rigorous churning.
"We've selected Saiyami for her ability to project the delicacy, strength, turmoil and resolve of the character. Just like Harshvardhan (Kapoor), it didn't matter where Saiyami came from. She had to prove herself capable of carrying off the character," said Mehra.
Mirza Sahibaan will also mark the debut of Anil Kapoor's son Harshvardhan, who has been cast as Mirza.
Rakeysh confesses the decision to cast Sahibaan wasn't easy.
"We searched for our Sahibaan for months. We finally shortlisted three girls, all strong possibilities as being the final choice. We put all three under rigorous training. That Saiyami finally got the role was a matter of just a slight edge.
"All three were almost equally competent. And I know the other two girls are also going to be major talents in our cinema," he said.
Saiyami's aunts Tanvi Azmi and Shabana Azmi seemed unaware that Saiyami had been finalized for the coveted part opposite Harshvardhan.
"I knew she was under consideration. But I wasn't aware she has been confirmed. That's terrific news," said Tanve.
Saiyami has been searching for the right break in Bollywood for two years now.
She even did a Telugu film entitled Rey with Ramcharan Teja's nephew Sai Dharam. But Rakeysh's film is Saaiyami's break into the big league.