Sana Saeed is back in “Student of the Year”!
The little angel that stole our hearts years ago in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai is back and she’s all grown up! Sana Saeed, better known as little Anjali, is back on the big screen in Karan Johar‘s latest teen flick, Student of the Year! Though she isn’t seen too much in the promotions, Saeed has a lead role in the flick. Looks like KJo is keeping her role undercover at the moment.
The gorgeous 24-year-old sat down to chat with us about her experience as a child star, memories from her KKHH days, her college years, SOTY and of course, some fun getting to know her favorites!
UA: What is one word that describes Sana Saeed?
SS: I am not sure what that one word would be but my bestie says its ‘Exuberant’.
UA: You’ve worked with Karan Johar as a child artist in ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ in 1998. Now 14 years later, you’re playing a lead role in ‘Student of the Year.’ How has the experience been? How were you chosen for SOTY? Was it different working with KJo as an adult vs. as a child?
SS: It was the customary process. I began with taking a decision I was ready to try for films. I had my portfolio shot, sent my pictures to casting directors and co-coordinators, which brought me a call to audition of a role open in Karan Johar’s film at Dharma Productions. I made it through the shortlist like 3 times and then finally got selected.
Working with Karan again was just wonderful. I was so scared of him as a child because I was always nervous about not messing my lines and giving my best. So when I met him for the first time on the sets of SOTY my heart was throbbing in my mouth. But from that day till present I’ve had nothing but fun times with him. He is a great director – easy, fun and comfortable to work with and literally not “just to say” but one of the most amazing people I know today. I loved working with him in KKHH and SOTY and I would do it again blindly.
UA: ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ brought you tons of fame and led to acting as a child artist in other films such as ‘Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega’ and ‘Badal’ how does the experience in those films compare to the first one?
SS: Well it’s definitely nothing compared to my first film. Shooting for KKHH was like living a dream. But I definitely had a good time working in Badal reconnecting with Rani Mukherjee again and Raj Kunwar was a pleasure to work with. I just had a guest appearance in Har Dil jo Pyaar Karega with Shahrukh Khan so it was just a moment to relive KKHH again, nothing substantial.
UA: Do you still have a relationship with Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan?
SS: “Acknowledge” would be the right word. I did meet both of them on the sets of Student of the Year. Their affectionate welcome towards me was over whelming. The first time I met Shah Rukh Khan after 14 years Karan got him to my room where I was waiting for my shot and it was so unexpected that the memory still brings me chills. Having Shahrukh Khan walk to you was really a knockout! He was so affectionate and kind as usual that it was a warm feeling to see him after so many years.
UA: What is your most memorable moment from shooting KKHH?
SS: I have some fabulous memories of Karan Johar of how he sat me down with every scene and made me rehearse every dialogue the way he’d like me to deliver. A great time in Ooti where the summer camp was shot, working with 45 kids for a month seemed like less work- more play for me.
UA: How did you get into acting as a child? Did you have any other ambitions (as careers) other than acting?
SS: I started working in ad-films at the age of 3. What I remember or was told, that I got picked up at a school concert for a particular TV commercial. Mom says I was a confident and interactive kid and work just went coming inn after that. Acting was never a career option until today, I always went for the work I enjoyed and that came in easily. Also which was easy to incorporate with my studies side by side without causing any hindrance to it. Like most of the people I was confused after my bachelor’s degree. I went ahead with marketing and advertising diploma. Only during that period I was doing a TV show say 4 years ago. When I realize my true passion for acting.
UA: Where did you go to college and what did you study? As a college student working in TV shows and ads did you feel a heavy workload? And how did you manage school with acting?
SS: I studied at the H.R College in Mumbai. My parents were very particular in relation to my studies and upbringing. They didn’t want me to lose out on my years of growing up and developing as a kid in the most likely way. I was by no means forced to do shoots if I preferred playing even basketball at school. That’s why between KKHH to SOTY I haven’t done too much work as it would have directly affected my schooling and higher studies.
The TV soap came my way while I was doing my last year at Degree College. I worked on a daily soap but yet I was given offs during exams, I was allowed to leave set by 9pm latest and given a day or two off in a week. Such leverage is very difficult to have when one is working on a daily soap. But since they did, I gave TV a shot.
UA: The rumor is that you where leaning towards moving to the big city New York to take up acting classes, but that was put on hold because Karan offered the lead role in ‘Student of the Year.’ Is that true?
SS: Well partly yes, I had applied and got accepted to the New York Film Academy for an acting course. But just around that time I had auditioned at Dharma for a role in SOTY. I went through 3 auditions and got selected. Since my focus now was to pursue acting I didn’t see myself in a better come back other than with Karan Johar again. It was my decision to take a step back from the course and go ahead with the film. But I wasn’t offered anything directly that affected this decision.
UA: What’s your music taste like? Who are some of your favorite artists?
SS: I like all kinds of music. It does depend on my mood. But I am a major fan of Bollywood dance numbers and I listen to a lot of commercial R&B hip-hop. Rihanna, Eminem, Chris brown etc are among my top favorites.
UA: Which actors and actresses do you admire?
SS: Shahrukh, Aamir and Salman are my favorites and Rani Mukherjee would be my favorite actress in the Indian Film Fraternity.
And I love Leonardo Di Caprio, for me, he’s the most serious and brilliant performer.
UA: First award you won was “Best Child Role” in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai back in 1999. Do you feel you will win one for this movie?
SS: I really wish, but I doubt it. We have some brilliant actresses today and I feel I need to do a more substantial role to really prove my metal.
UA: What are your parents’ views on your working in movies?
SS: Initially they were rigid while I was still studying. Now that all is done, they have been appealingly supportive.
UA: What are some of your long-term goals, not just in your acting life.
SS: I am an absolute animal person and may be someday I’d love to do something for their sound being. In fact awhile back I almost saw myself being a part of the National Geographic Channel in some way.
UA: Do you feel that education or film is the most important part of your life?
SS: Education is really all we got and all we need to live a happy and meaningful life. I am everything today that I’ve learned from, its my base. Being a part of films now is my current choice and passion, but if I ever consider otherwise I have lot of studies to back me.
UA: What are some of your other hobbies aside from acting?
SS: I love dancing. I indulge in training and classes when I have the time. Bollywood, Hip-hop and Street jazz are some of the styles I have some base in. Contemporary Style is next on my list. Also playing with my two cats is an all time delight for me.
UA: Do you want to be remembered as the image of the cute and bubbly little girl?
SS: Of course! KKHH and the character Anjali is always something I want to take with me. I am fun loving and bubby in real life too.
UA: Have you faced any challenges acting after KKHH, especially finding teenage roles at that time?
SS: I only did whatever good came my way, also with mom supervising over my steady balance with studies, there was only scope to do very little when it came to acting back then.
UA: Many child artists are hugely successful but cannot carry this forward as they get older. Does this make you more conscious about your film choices?
SS: Well I take it more positively; there are a few who have made it big. I am hoping and praying I make it to that list. But definitely being conscious about the projects I do will always be priority. I am working on a film after almost 14 years again, I am in no hurry hereafter either I’d take quality over quantity any day.
UA: What are some actors that would be your dream to work with?
SS: Shahrukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Ranbir Kapoor and if ever then Leonardo Di Caprio.
UA: Were you offered any films prior to SOTY? If so, what?
SS: SOTY was among the first two film auditions I gave and I was lucky to have bagged it.
UA: Being quite a young unit, can you tell us about any particularly fun/memorable moments from the sets of SOTY?
SS: Well my first day on set by far would be my most memorable. Standing among big names like Karan Johar, Farah Khan, Manish Malhotra, Mickey Contractor and so many others all who I had worked with in KKHH and being so warmly welcomed by everyone was one great feeling and off course being so warmly greeted by SRK after all those years. Apart from that, I had a fabulous time in the Thailand schedule of SOTY in Koh Samui and Bangkok.
Larger than Life song shoots, learning and rehearsing with Farah Khan, Bosco Ceasar, Vaibhavi Merchant and Remo D’souza was an experience in itself. I love dancing and to have been guided to their choreography was my most enjoyable occurrence on SOTY. I am dancing my most in the Disco Song and Vele of Student of the Year so they definitely were the best for me. I can’t wait to watch it in cinemas.
UA: What is your role in the movie SOTY?
SS: I am playing a high school hottie, Tanya.
UA: How does it feel to get back into acting?
SS: It feels extraordinary. I love everything about it from learning lines, reading scripts, dolling up, to watching others perform. Getting back to it, is one the wisest decisions I’ve made for myself. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every day of work on Student of the Year. Though off course sometimes I am a nervous wreck when I think of how I am going to be accepted by the audience this time again.
UA: Any tips for our readers who are currently in school trying to pursue an acting degree?
SS: Don’t take technicality too seriously. Just perform like you feel and own every character you play and every dialogue you say.
UA: Any special moment or accomplishment that you would like to share?
SS: One of my biggest accomplishments would be having myself an Anjali in KKHH and now a Tanya in SOTY and for the second time getting the most wonderful opportunity of working with Karan Johar and under a Dharma production banner- a Superb Team. I couldn’t have asked for a better start as a child or today as an adult. Its one of the best things that has happened to me and I am so thankful.
UA: So as KJo enjoys Rapid Fire Round, here is our Urban Asian Round! Ready? Set! Go!
What’s your favorite color?
Pizza or Salad?
Madhuri Dixit or Sridevi
Shah Rukh Khan or Salman Khan
New York or London
I’m a more high fashion brand lover. Zara, H&M, Forver 21 are a few top Favorites.
Victoria Secret (Vanilla) & Baby doll.
Favorite Holiday spot
Koh Samui at the Banyan Tree.
UA: Any last words for your fans from all over the globe?
SS: Yes, please please watch Student Of the Year releasing on 19th October 2012. I promise, we won’t disappoint you. We have all worked too hard and put in our everything. So please give us all the Love you’ve got! And for me, if you like my work at all, then chocolates from all over the globe are always welcome!
We’d like to thank Sana Saeed for spending some time with us! Be sure to check out this Bollywood sweetheart’s return to the big screen in Student of the Year releasing soon!