Actors Saiyami Kher & Gulshan Devaiah talk about their film 8 A.M. Metro

Gulshan’s Preetam is a banker, haunted by his demons while Saiyami's Iravati, a housewife, is fighting off panic attacks. The paths of these two strangers cross, changing their lives forever.
A still from the show
A still from the show

Talented actors Saiyami Kher and Gulshan Devaiah’s upcoming film 8 A.M. Metro, directed by Raj R, sees them in very different roles. Gulshan’s Preetam is a banker, haunted by his demons while Saiyami plays a 29-year-old housewife, Iravati, fighting off recurring panic attacks. The paths of these two strangers cross, changing their lives forever. Indulge speaks with the lead pair as the film releases in the theatres today. Excerpts:

What’s the film all about?

Gulshan: It’s about two people who meet every day at the 8 am metro and how their relationship grows thereon. It’s sort of a romance, but not a conventional one. Yet under different circumstances, the two of them would have made a great couple. But why that’s not so remains to be seen at the theatres. The film is sweet, talks a lot about poetry, and touches upon issues like depression and anxiety, family, marriage, relationships, social constructs, our understanding of the rights and wrongs and all of that. It also has a lot of Hyderabad in it.

Saiyami: It’s a story of two strangers who meet and their lives change for the better. There’s no inhibition, and they get along.

Gulshan: Yes, but the film is a bit sad too.

Saiyami
Saiyami

What made you say yes to this film?

Gulshan: I liked the script, I enjoyed reading it and also got a bit emotional towards the end. I thought this was a great story.

Saiyami: It was the same for me. There are some scripts which take very long to get through, and there are some, like this one, that you start reading and don’t want to put down. There were a lot of elements in the script that worked for me. And the high point was working with someone like Gulshan.

Gulshan: Oh yeah. We did something together called Glitch but that was just a 3-day shoot. So a full-length feature film was long pending with Saiyami.

Saiyami, this is your second film with Gulzar. How was the experience?

I think anyone who is being offered something that has Gulzar, will want to be a part of it. First, I have a very special relationship with him after Mirzya — he’s like my go-to person every time I am down, or have anything to share. So, working with him again felt very special. But this time it was a little more intimidating because when I was dubbing for the film, I had to go and check with him as to how he wanted me to recite the poems. During Mirzya, we didn’t meet during the process of the film. But in this, I got to work with him, and that was so exciting. And now, I am just kee ping my fingers crossed, hoping that Gulzar directs me in a short film or something. That would just be the icing on the cake.

The film has used a lot of poetry. How well-versed with poetry are you in general?

Gulshan: Not at all. Sometimes I just can’t understand poetry. I am a very visual person, so I think visuals work well with me. And even if I understand, it takes me a while. In general, I am not much of a poetry reader. So, it also took me a while to articulate the verses used in the film.

Saiyami: I don’t know how good I am at reciting poetry, but I do read them very often. Since I am a huge fan of Gulzar, every month I get a new book by him, and that takes me a while to finish. I also admire the poetry by Faiz Ahmad Faiz. Reading poetry is indeed a big part of my life.

Gulshan
Gulshan

This film talks about strangers meeting, bonding slowly, and opening up about their dark secrets and fears. Do you believe that at times one does talk more freely about oneself to a stranger?

Gulshan: It depends upon a lot of other factors. If our energy matches and the stranger is not judgemental, then definitely yes. One opens up a lot more about oneself to a stranger because you know you won’t be judged.

Saiyami: I take some time to open up to people but everyone’s a stranger at some point in your life. If you feel that there is some kind of connection and ease, you open up slowly and steadily. But you open up more in some cases and that depends on what vibe you get from that person.

Gulshan: Once I was flying to Mumbai from Jaipur, to attend my divorce case, I met this senior actress on the flight and we started talking. I ended up telling her about my divorce and it helped me. She shared her experience about her husband and her divorce, and I shared mine, and it was comforting. I could get many things out, and with time I found that pretty healing. And it’s not necessarily about bitter experiences, you are just sharing what you are going through.

Your upcoming projects?

Gulshan: Dahaad released just a week back, and 8 A.M. Metro released today. Then I have Duranga Season 2 on Zee 5, and Raj & DK’s Guns & Gulaabs on Netflix.

Saiyami: I have R Balki’s film Ghoomer, and another film called Agni, both slated for release this year.

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