Sayyeshaa, who made her debut in Telugu with ‘Akhil’, took the South Indian film fraternity by storm last weekend at SIIMA, which was held in Singapore. The actress was nominated in the ‘Best Debutante Female’ award; however, it was her performance that mesmerised the stalwarts of South Indian cinema and the audience alike. “It was my first ever stage performance and I wanted to make a strong impression. Although I’m a trained dancer, my debut film (Akhil) didn’t quite give me the scope to showcase my wide range of skills. So, SIIMA was the perfect platform for me in a lot of ways,” said Sayyeshaa.
The actress, who’ll soon be making her Bollywood debut in Ajay Devgan’s Shivaay, has just 8 hours to rehearse for her performance, which was a tribute to the Big 4 of Telugu cinema – Chiranjeevi, Balakrishna, Nagarjuna and Venkatesh. Sayyeshaa chose to dance to a medley of eight songs, comprising two blockbuster songs each dedicated to the four actors. For Chiranjeevi, it was Bangaru Kodipetta (Gharana Mogudu) and Dayi Dayi Damma (Indra); for Balakrishna, she chose Simhamanti Chinnode (Simha), Nandamuri Nayaka (Samarasimha Reddy); from Nagarjuna’s super hit songs, Sayyeshaa danced to the tunes of Kanne Pettaro (Hello Brother) and Akkineni Akkineni (Akhil), and finally for Nagarjuna, she shook a leg to the tunes of Chali Champutunna (Kshana Kshanam), Nenu Puttindhi Nee Kosame (Lakshmi).
“It was the most memorable night of my life. I’ve grown up watching films of Chiranjeevi sir, Balakrishna sir, Nagarjuna sir, Venkatesh sir and Nagarjuna sir. And Chiranjeevi sir was sitting in the first row when I danced to his songs. The zenith of my performance was the moment when I did the iconic ‘veena step’ that was immortalised by Chiranjeevi right in front of him. It was a big moment for me and I was thrilled with the response from everyone,” she said, adding, “I really missed Nagarjuna sir that day. I’ve known him for a while now and even got a chance to share screen space with him in a song in Akhil. I wish he was there for my first ever stage performance.” She started formal training in dance in London in the Latin-American style of dancing when she was 10 years old. Later, she travelled to Rio de Janiero and South Africa where she underwent intensive training in Latin-American style of dancing. Over the years, she has also learnt Odissi, Kathak, Belly Dancing and Hip Hop.
Her efforts didn’t go unnoticed. The crowds went gaga over what she had pulled off, but the best of the compliments came from the film fraternity itself. Chiranjeevi was so impressed with her performance that he enquired about Sayyeshaa from the SIIMA team and even wanted to meet her. “I was backstage after my performance and by the time I came to the venue, Chiranjeevi sir had left. But I was on cloud nine when I was told that he loved my performance. It meant the world to me,” Sayyeshaa said. That’s not it. Some of the top actresses are believed to have said that Sayyeshaa’s performance was very “elegant and graceful”. Later when she met Allu Arjun, Allu Sirish, Sushanth, Samantha and Akhil among many others, they all raved about her. “Allu Arjun was very generous with his compliments and said he didn’t know I could dance so well. I couldn’t help but blush because he’s one of my biggest inspirations. It’s my dream to dance with Allu Arjun and Ram Charan.”
For the past few months, the principal shooting of Shivaay had kept her busy and now that the film is slated for release this Diwali, Sayyeshaa is eager to act in more Telugu films. “Everytime I got an offer from Telugu in the past 8 months, I had to let it go because of my Hindi film. Now that I’m done with it, I can’t wait to do more films in Telugu. I’m in love with the industry, the people and their professionalism,” Sayyeshaa remarked.