Avinash Lohana (MUMBAI MIRROR; April 11, 2017)

Feryna Wazheir, last seen in the Akshay Kumar-Nimrat Kaur starrer Airlift, will play the young Nargis Dutt in Nandita Das’s Manto with Nawazuddin Siddiqui headlining the cast. Feryna is expected to join the shoot in Mumbai in two-three weeks. Shabana Azmi plays Nargis’s mother, singer-filmmaker-composer Jaddanbai.

“Casting director Honey Trehan recommended me to Nandita. Many say I do look a lot like Nargisji. Manto had written a chapter on her in his book which is why Nandita wanted her in the film,” informs Feryna, whose prep includes reading up on the late actress and watching some of her films, including Humayun and Barsaat to understand the look and feel of the times. “She was young and raw in these films as compared to her later work like Shree 420 and Chori Chori. Mother India is my all- time favourite.”

Meanwhile, Freyna’s British short film, A Secret Heart, directed by Cary Sawhney will be premiering at the New York Indian Film festival on May 2. The film is a mystery-romance set in East London with her essaying the role of a young British-Jewish woman. “A young African-British guy after breaking up with his girlfriend meets this mysterious stranger and falls in love with her. It’s an interesting story and I’m happy festivals like these give platforms to such indie films. I am yet to decide if I will be going there or not,” she says.

Feryna’s last film, Khanna, with the same director, had won an award at Palm Springs festival and was given the Best Short Award at the New York Indian Film Festival.