Shabana Azmi’s niece set for acting debut

Shabana Azmi’s niece Saiyami Kher, who features in the 2012 Kingfisher calendar, has signed up for a Telugu film opposite south star Chiranjeevi’s nephew Sai Dharam Tej. And if things go well, she will enter the Hindi film industry by the year end.
Hindustan Times | By Prashant Singh, Mumbai
UPDATED ON MAR 11, 2012 05:38 PM IST

A new ‘star kid’ is waiting to enter the world of lights, camera and action. Shabana Azmi’s niece Saiyami Kher, who features in the 2012 Kingfisher calendar, has signed up for a Telugu film opposite south star Chiranjeevi’s nephew Sai Dharam Tej. And if things go well, she will enter the Hindi film industry by the year end.

“To start with, I must clarify that I am technically Tanvi Azmi’s niece, but Shabana mausi (aunt) is family. So yes, I am their niece,” says Saiyami. And Shabana has been going all out to help the 20-year-old actor get a dream start in Bollywood.

Saiyami Kher
Saiyami Kher

“Shabana mausi has been kind enough to go out of her way to introduce me to people and takes me around. So, I’ve been really fortunate in that sense,” says Saiyami, whose mother, Uttara Mhatre Kher, was a former Miss India.

Interestingly, Shabana’s mother Shaukat Azmi, the late Kaifi Azmi’s wife, has also trained Saiyami. “Everyone knows that she is an unbelievable expert when it comes to Urdu. And I, fortunately, have trained with her. She used to be extremely strict and, at the same time, entertaining. But her guidance has been helpful,” she says.

Shabana too has made sure Saiyami mastered the Hindi language.

“She got behind me saying, ‘Hindi mein baat karo’ (speak in Hindi). Also, as a youngster, you get excited about every offer, but they (including Tanvi) always guide me about things and ask me to wait for substantial work,” says Saiyami, who has also shot for several print campaigns for fashion magazines and ad campaigns such as Pantaloons, Levi’s, Raymond and L’Oreal.

A St Xavier’s College graduate, Saiyami is right now working hard on the “elaborate” film titled Rey. “For her, our plan has been to get a film down south to prepare her for Bollywood. That’s exactly what we did with Deepika Padukone too,” says Atul Kasbekar, CMD of Bling! Entertainment Solutions that manages her career.

“Yes, I will have to slog it out for the film since there are nine songs in it, so I have to train hard to dance,” says Saiyami, adding that Rey will release during Diwali.

There’s never been a shortage of sons or daughters of yesteryear actors making a beeline for stardom. But how many manage to make a mark?

Hits or flops?
Ranbir Kapoor
Debut vehicle: Saawariya (2007)
Hit outings: Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008), Wake Up Sid (2009), Raajneeti (2010), Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani (2009) and Rockstar (2011)
Report card: He entered Bollywood with a bang, but the hype died down after Saawariya flopped. However, Ranbir bounced back with Bachna… followed by Wake Up Sid and the critically acclaimed Rocket Singh: Salesman of The Year (2009). And then, the Kapoor scion proved his comic prowess with Ajab Prem… followed by a strong outing in Raajneeti. His imposing performance in last year’s Rockstar cemented his position as a star.
Future projects: Barfi!, Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani, 2 States

Ranbir Kapoor in a still from Rockstar.
Ranbir Kapoor in a still from Rockstar.

Imran Khan

Debut vehicle: Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na (JTYJN; 2008)

Hit outings: JTYJN, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan (2011), Delhi Belly (2011) and

Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu (2012)

Report card: Fans fell in love with his chocolate boy looks in JTYJN. But when superstar Aamir Khan’s nephew decided to experiment with Kidnap (2008) and Luck (2009), he had to face failure. So, he turned back to feel-good films like I Hate Luv Storys and surprised critics with Delhi Belly. That was soon followed by the rom-coms like Mere Brother Ki Dulhan and Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu.

Future projects: Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola

Abhishek Bachchan

Debut vehicle: Refugee (2000)

Hit outings: Bunty Aur Babli (2005), Guru (2007), Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna (2006)

Report card: He came with a powerful surname. And though his work in Refugee was appreciated, he gave a string of flops such as Dhai Akshar Prem Ke (2000), Tera Jadoo Chal Gaya (2000) and Zameen (2003). Then Yuva (2004) came and Bunty Aur Babli followed. And both the critics and public loved him in Guru. He has also been a part of multi-starrers like Dhoom and Dostana.

Future projects: Bol Bachchan, Dhoom 3 and Dostana 2

Abhay Deol

Debut vehicle: Socha Na Tha (2005)

Hit outings: Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! (OLLO; 2008)), Dev D (2009), Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (ZNMD; 2011)

Report card: When this Deol decided to make his debut, it was taken for granted that he would be an action star. But his Socha Na Tha came as a surprise. Abhay then went on to do films such as Ek Chalis Ki Last Local (2007), followed by hits like OLLO and Dev D. ZNMD is Abhay’s biggest hit.

Future projects: Shanghai, Singularity and Rock The Shaadi

Tusshar Kapoor

Debut vehicle: Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai (2001)

Hit outings: Kya Kool Hai Hum (2005), Golmaal series, Shor In The City and The Dirty Picture (2011)

Report card: Considered a non-star, Tusshar found his place in the industry with comedies and impressive

outings in films like Shootout At Lokhandwala (2007) and Shor In The City.

Future projects: Shootout At Wadala, Chaar Din Ki Chandni and Kya Super Kool Hai Hum

Sonam Kapoor

Debut vehicle: Saawariya

Hit outing: I Hate Luv Storys (2010)

Report card: She is Anil Kapoor’s daughter and when Sonam entered the industry, there was a lot of hype. But Delhi 6 (2009), Aisha (2010), Thank You (2011), Mausam (2011) and Players (2012), flopped miserably.

Future projects: Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Rajkumar Santoshi’s next

New kids on the block

Alia Bhatt:

Mahesh Bhatt and Soni Razdan’s teenage daughter will be seen in Karan Johar’s new film, Student Of The Year.

Varun Dhawan: David Dhawan’s younger son stars opposite Alia in Karan’s film.

Sonakshi Sinha at the Lakme Fashion Week 2012.
Sonakshi Sinha at the Lakme Fashion Week 2012.

Siddhant Kapoor: Shakti Kapoor’s son will be seen in Sanjay Gupta’s under production gangster film, Shootout At Wadala.

Athiya Shetty: Suniel Shetty’s daughter, who is studying at the New York Film Academy, is likely to make her debut later this year.

Kayoze Irani: Boman Irani’s son will be seen in Student Of The Year. He recently assisted Shakun Batra on Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu.

Narmada Ahuja: After working in several projects that were shelved eventually, Govinda’s daughter might finally make her debut with Tutak Tootak Tootiyan.

Akhil Kapoor: Vinod Khanna’s nephew and Shazahn Padamsee’s ‘boyfriend’ is likely to debut with Tutak Tootak Tootiyan.

On the sidelines!
Sonakshi Sinha
Wait and watch: She entered with a blockbuster, Dabangg. But Sonakshi Sinha has been quiet since. Although it’s been over a year since her debut, she holds a lot of promise and will be seen in several big ventures such as Rowdy Rathore, Joker, Dabangg 2, Lootera and Kick.

Talent untapped? Late Smita Patil and Raj Babbar’s son
surprised all with his short yet impressive performance in Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. Later, he followed it up with decent outings in Dhobi Ghat and Aarakshan. His career has hit a speed-breaker since.

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