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Why Faadu marks actor Saiyami Kher’s coming into her own

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Kher finds her character ‘Manjiri’ in the Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari-directed web series closest to her real self

Suhani Singh
Mumbai,UPDATED: Dec 11, 2022 16:47 IST

Actress Saiyami Kher at a special screening in Mumbai; (Photo: ANI)

For the past few years, Saiyami Kher was content being a part of the ensemble of two highly-watched series, Breathe (Amazon Prime) and Special Ops (Disney+ Hotstar). “Everyone’s always waiting to have meaty parts in any film or show you do,” she says. With her third web series, Faadu (SonyLIV), Kher finally gets to be at the centrestage. Directed by Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari (Bareilly Ki Barfi), Faadu is a relationship drama following a young couple, Abhay (Pavail Gulati) and Manjiri (Kher).

Only five years old in the entertainment industry, Kher says Manjiri is the character closest to her real self. “I am an ‘old soul’ and so is Manjiri. She is somebody from today’s generation where relationships can be superficial and fleeting craves to have a pure romantic story, as seen in our grandparents’ time,” she says. Kher identified with Manjiri furthermore given her upbringing was away from Mumbai—in Nashik—though she went on to study at St Xavier’s College in Mumbai. Like Manjiri, Kher loves poetry (she is a self-confessed Gulzar fan). These parallels only reaffirmed Tiwari’s belief that Kher was her Manjiri.

Indian streaming has thus far been inundated with crime dramas or thrillers. Faadu, in that sense, is an anomaly. The show is not just about falling in love. It is also about looking at a relationship after the meet-cute. Kher admits it’s difficult to “slot” Faadu. “It is a rags-to-riches story where Abhay changes because of greed while Manjiri is rooted and moralistic,” she says. “Manjiri is the anchor in his life. When you drift away and become somebody who you are not, the anchor keeps you steady.” The show’s biggest attribute, according to Kher, is the writing (by Saumya Joshi), which weaves poetry into the narrative.

With Faadu, Kher caps off 2022 as one of her most rewarding years professionally. She shot Faadu; R. Balki’s next feature Ghoomer with Abhishek Bachchan; Rahul Dholakia’s Agni, an action drama about fire-fighters; and saw the release of Breathe: Into the Shadows. There’s also an Anurag Kashyap-produced film with Gulshan Devaiah.

OTT series or theatrical release, Kher isn’t concerned where she is seen. “To be blatantly honest, I did a lot of waiting around post Mirzya (her Hindi film debut),” she says. “Now that so much work is happening, I am really grateful. Yes, I want to be a protagonist but I also genuinely love being on set.”

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