International supermodel Saira Mohan is all set to come to Bollywood with a major role in Leena Yadav’s upcoming film Teen Patti.
Canada-based Saira, who has been a global fashion icon for almost a decade, insists she avoided a full-fledged debut in Hindi films because she is “extremely picky”. “I try to balance my career with my family, which is not easy,” says Saira, who has been the face of Saks Fifth Avenue, Mercedes, L’Oreal and Chanel.
She has walked the ramp for Versace, Victoria’s Secret and Calvin Klein, and posed on the cover of international editions of several leading fashion magazines such as Elle, Vogue, GQ, Marie Claire, Allure, Esquire, Cosmopolitan and Glamour.
Beyond that, Saira is a model-actress who paints, writes and produces music albums. She is the author of a popular
ebook sold on her website entitled How To Seduce (and Marry) the Woman of Your Dreams. But her favourite role in life is far from glamourous. “My most natural role is being a mother in real life,” she says, of her five-year-old son, Romen Alexandre Cooper.
And her preferred way of chilling out is, painting in the nude. Her website says she loves “to paint oil-on-canvas with my nude body as the brush.” Saira explains it further: “There is an emotional freedom that comes with this experience (of painting in the nude). It’s something that’s better seen and even better felt. But essentially, you cover your body with paint and make love to the canvas. It’s quite incredible actually.” Coming back to Bollywood, Saira says: “Teen Patti is only my second Bollywood film, and the first one in a starring role.
The first one was Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna where I had a cameo. In all these years I’ve been offered at least a score of films but I turned them down. I’m that picky. I am only interested in working with people who I admire and when the timing is right.”
On juggling her many acts, Saira says: “I try my best to do it all while accepting that I cannot possibly do it all. So I take things one day at a time and relish the moment. I enjoy reading, especially travel books. As long as I am pursuing a goal, I’m happy.” These days, she is busy producing an album with “the kind of music a PhD student from IIT would listen to on his iPod”. Saira says she has “always been serious when it comes to work.” It’s perhaps this seriousness that made her a global phenomenon when Newsweek put her on the cover with the headline ‘The Perfect Face’ in 2003.
Saira can’t stop gushing over Teen Patti. She says her role of Mrs K in the film is “an experience of a lifetime” because it gave her the scope to work with living legends Amitabh Bachchan and Ben Kingsley. Some passionate scenes, including a sizzling kiss, featuring Saira and co-star R. Madhavan, are already making news. She is cool about it. “Working with Madhavan was comfortable. He has a wonderful way of doing a scene. I had fun,” she says.
Saira, who lives in Montreal with her investment banker husband Christopher and son, can’t wait for her family to watch the film. Her only regret — “I wish my father had taught me Hindi. I had some Hindi dialogues in the movie,” Saira says. Saira says she is also toying with “a business plan that has the potential to neutralise the existing language and technical divides in India.” Knowing her penchant for multi-tasking, she might strike gold here too.