EXCLUSIVE: Saiee Manjrekar On Her Debut In Dabangg 3 — 'I Played 'Hud Hud Dabangg' And Danced After I Got The Role' 

Shubanka Sridhar , 06 Dec 2019

Making your big, larger-than-life debut in a Salman Khan film isn’t a small feat, and Saiee Manjrekar is all set to star opposite him in the film Dabangg 3. She has kept a very low profile in the media until now, and my interview with her was my first time of ever getting to know Saiee. Daughter to acclaimed actors like Mahesh and Medha Manjrekar is almost the only thing I knew of her and after the interview, I can say for sure that I caught a glimpse of Saiee for the person she is. She is bubbly, honest and absolutely excited about her debut.

Wearing a fun white tank top and jeans, she was so easy and casual that our conversation in her vanity van just felt like a fun chat! She chatted with me about everything from how she is super excited to promote her film, to how she reacted after she got her first role, about dealing with the paparazzi and social media pressure, and much more.

Here are excerpts from our chat:

Saiee, now you’re done with your shoot and the film is all set for release. If filming is a tough job, promoting it can also be a task. How excited are you for it?

It’s a completely different experience from filming, yes. Honestly, I’m genuinely enjoying this a lot.  I’ve heard people say that promotions are so tiring, but this is my first time so I guess I’m just
taking it all in and loving it. I just can’t wait to do more of this till I get to the point where I
get to say, “Promotions are so tiring”!

You know, debuting with such a huge franchise like Dabangg will surely come with its own set of anticipation and pressure. How are you handling all that?

More than pressure, I would say I have a sense of responsibility where I know that I have
my mom and dad’s names at stake. I have to make them proud no matter what. Salman Sir and
Prabhu Sir have put in so much and have trusted me enough to be the ‘Khushi’ to
his ‘Chulbul’. So, I just want to do justice to her character. That’s just the way that I see things for
this. So yeah, It’s more of a responsibility to me.

Was this something that you’ve always wanted to do?

Yes, ever since I can remember. I wanted to do something in the film industry and I wasn’t sure what. And then acting came a little later, but something to do with films. I remember when I was small, we used to have family gatherings in my best friend’s house. So all of us kids used to dance for our parents and I used to be the one choreographing and directing it. I was a full-on filmy dramebaaz!

What was your first reaction when you got to know you’re going to be part of the franchise?

Oh, I just remember putting the phone down, taking a deep breath in and screaming and jumping and dancing. I even played the ‘Hud Hud Dabangg‘ theme song and danced in front of the mirror! When I told my elder brother, he just ran down and I was like, “What happened to him?” and then he came back home with two chocolates and said, “This is the first thing I could see, congratulations!

You know when you have grown up around people from the industry, you would have heard a lot about it. But it’s only when you experience it first-hand that you learn, right?

To be honest, yes. I’ve heard a lot of things from my father, my mother, Salman Sir. But again, like
you said, until I experienced it first-hand they weren’t as real to me as they sounded. So, my experience as a whole has been quite lovely cause I have had a great time making it and everything has been going very well, touch wood.

How was the larger-than-life experience of working with Salman Khan?

It was a treat. Honestly, it was everything I dreamt it to be. It was just so fun and
so normal. I say normal because when you’re working with such a big star you feel intimidated. However, with him, I didn’t. He made me feel so comfortable, he was very accommodating. He made everything really special for me and I’m very grateful for that.

But shooting situations can be hard, and especially given it was your first time. During the shoot schedule, were there any moments where you were like exhausted and drained out?

I really enjoyed the schedule and I remember my mom saying “School ke liye toh you never woke up at 7am. Here your waking up at 4am, and on your own. You should’ve done this since you were a child!

Talking of your parents, both your mother and father are well-known actors. So did they have anything to tell you about how you should work and the likes?

Oh yeah. Suddenly their maternal and paternal instincts have fired up and they’re just like, ‘Now we’re going to encourage and support you!’ They were always very encouraging and supportive but now they’ve just become this dynamic duo who are like, “Come on, you can do this. You can do that!” So, it’s really fun to see that side of them. They’ve also given me a lot of tips. Like, my mom used to tell me to act with my eyes. My dad told me that acting is basically reacting to a given situation. They very casually gave me little tips like that but never sat me down and told me, “Now you have to do this, now you have to do that”. Because they know that would add pressure.

They are also acting in the film! Were there moments where you hung out during each other’s shots?

Yeah! We do cross each other’s paths. You’ll see it in the film. But yes when they would come and visit my set and see me take my shot, it was one of the most special feelings in the world. I can’t even explain it in words.

The movie is all set to release now. Do you have these moments where you’re sitting back and just overwhelmed by all this action happening around you?

My mother was asking me this because all the interviews were happening today and yesterday I was very calm and collected. She was like, “Saiee are you okay?” and I said I was fine. She was like, “No, normally you’re really hyper with energy”. Because normally when I get overwhelmed, I get hyper and then get very restless. But yeah, I’ll slowly learn how to control that and channel that energy productively.

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Now that you’re debuting, there’ll be a lot of attention on you with the paparazzi and social media. Is it all very overwhelming to think about?

More than overwhelming, I think I just have to be more aware of myself because now that
we have social media, and the paps, we cannot ignore it. First I wasn’t very concerned, because I didn’t need to be. But now, I have to. It is another thing that comes along with this career. Now more than being overwhelmed, I’m excited for it. Like the other day, somebody came to me and asked for a selfie and I was more excited than they were. I was like, “Come, come! You want one more?

Sonakshi Sinha is also part of the film and this was the franchise that launched her too. Did she give you any tips and tricks of the trade?

She’s a gem of a person and I love her. She’s so sweet and so warm. One day, I met her in Salman Sir’s house and she told me to have fun and cherish this experience, and that it’ll be one of the most special moments of my life. Also I remember the trailer launch, we walked into a room with lots of people and they were screaming. This was the first time I experienced something like this and I was really scared. So, I remember walking behind her and she just held my hand and told me that it’ll be okay which was a really nice thing for her to do for me.

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