Bollywood Buzz

Sana Saeed faces opposition at home

A career high at the age of 8 and a long struggle thereon; in a case illustrative of the child stars teeming the industry, Sana Saeed is still remembered as the cherubic daughter of Shah Rukh Khan in the monster hit ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’.

She has since made an adult comeback with the Karan Johar flick Student of the Year and participated in a popular dance reality TV show but there is a twist in the story.

Whispers in the industry suggest a rift between the young actress and her parents and when TOI contacted the actress she opened up to us about her dilemma at her Mahim apartment on Monday.

Cooing over her six-month old niece Niz, Sanaa is a bundle of energy. With her petite figure clad in body-con trousers and a mass of wavy highlighted hair, she looks cut for the industry which prizes youthful good looks over everything.

The city of Mumbai teems with aspirants like her, many of them having travelled from places afar to carve out their place in the sun. And like a lot of them, even a former child star can’t stop her parents from raining on her parade.

In this case, while one parent fanned Sana’s ambition, her father a poet, was deadset against his daughter taking up acting as a profession.

So is she being pressurised to quit showbiz? “My mother was the one who introduced me to this world and she has always been there for me. But she was not OK with me wearing a bikini in SOTY. My father has never been supportive of my decision to be an actress. But I don’t expect them to understand, my parents are from a generation where none of their peers ever wore a skirt, let alone a bikini,” says the 24-year-old.

Sana made her film debut with a small part in Student Of The Year, playing Tania, a sexed up teenage vixen out to poach a rich boyfriend. It was a calculated risk on her part, after all a bit part in a KJo film is still a big deal.But the move had some rather unexpected effects: a family feud.

So what is her parents grouse with her decision to make a living in tinseltown? “They are worried about ‘exposure’ of the wrong kind. But the decision is up to me, no one can force you to do anything in this industry. And which profession does not have those pitfalls, but my parents believe in the extremely negative public perception of Bollywood,” says Sana.

The actress grew up in a middle class Muslim household,a house on JJ Road and two sisters who have both chosen the conventional life path, steady job, marriage, babies. But Sanaa struck out from a young age.

From the age of four, her chubby visage was a constant presence on TV screens selling everything from shampoos to chocolates.

Her mother was always by her side, playing manager, minder and parent. But then Sana grew up and decided to wear a bikini for her first film role and all hell broke loose.That was the beginning of a conflict which continues till date.

But Sanaa is perky as ever even as she speaks about the lows of her life. One was shared by millions in the city, the recent Mahalakshmi gang rape case.

“When the news of the rape broke, my father called me.He was so depressed, I had to rush home to comfort him. I keep odd hours, I am on the road all the time, the entertainment industry does not have a good reputation. So part of the resistance comes from worry and the incident was a major blow,” said the actress.

And much like the city, Sana refuses to stop dreaming.

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