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Lisa Haydon

Last updated on: July 19, 2010 13:12 IST

'Sonam Kapoor is very sisterly'

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Born to an Indian father and Australian mother, Lisa Haydon has tasted success as a model. Now, she hopes to do the same as an actress.

The 23-year-old is making her Bollywood debut with Aisha, starring Abhay Deol and Sonam Kapoor. A desi version of Jane Austen's Emma, it is slated for release next month.

Lisa tells Nithya Ramani about her Bollywood experience.

So how did a girl living in Australia land a role in a Bollywood film?

It just happened; it wasn't planned. I started modeling in Australia. I came to India to visit my family after a year and hosted a television show. That kept me here for a year and a half.

Then a year ago, Anil Kapoor saw me at a coffee shop. He came up to me and said that I was a very beautiful girl. And that was it. I was very excited. I called up my agency and told them that I met Anil Kapoor. The very next day, he had his office call my agency and asked if I was interested in being a part of his next project.

Initially, I wasn't sure about doing it because it was a small role. But still, it's an important role.

There was a workshop with the entire cast. We played Dumb Charades to break the ice and see how the chemistry was. I got the script later.

Did you always want to be an actress?

Yes. I went to an acting school in Sydney. But when I took up modeling, I pushed acting to the side. I wasn't making as much money as I did from modeling.

Was Aisha your first film offer?

No. When you are a model, you do get offers from directors, looking for a fresh face. I went to many auditions. I think they were important for me to bring me to my first movie. I learnt to be confident, easy with my lines and not conscious of the camera.


Image: Lisa Haydon

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'Cyrus Sahukar entertained us on the sets'

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Tell us about your character.

I play is Miss Fairfax. In Aisha, she is Abhay (Deol) or Arjun's business partner, who has just returned from New York. She is a strong, modern girl. She is at the top of her game -- she runs her own company, rents her own house, doesn't live with her family.

She can be quite intimidating at times. It appears that she is having an affair with Arjun because of their close proximity at work.

What was the Aisha experience like?

Director Rajshree Ojha wanted me to know everything before we started shooting. But there were so many things I didn't anticipate. Like there is a scene where my character and Arjun are in a bar, talking. I hadn't given much thought to what conversation they would be having. Since it was sync sound, we had to say something. So she worked us through that.

(Co-star) Cyrus Sahukar was hilarious. He entertained us on the sets. He is a laugh-a-minute person.

What was working with Sonam and Abhay like?

Sonam made me feel very comfortable. She was quite sisterly. She told me not to leave her side during the shooting of the whole film. She wasn't intimidating at all.

Abhay was great too. He helped me with my lines. A lot of my scenes are with him and I would get nervous and scared before the shoot. He would constantly tell me to keep it natural. He was very supportive.


Image: Lisa Haydon

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'I wanted to show people that I can speak Hindi'

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Any interesting incidents on the sets?

There is a kissing scene in the film. I won't mention who it is with. We were rehearsing for the scene and I wanted to do it as less as possible. Rajshree called 'action' and we started kissing. Just then Sonam, Amrita and Ira walked by and Rajshree called 'cut'. I did not hear her, and we continued kissing. Suddenly, I heard everyone clapping. We opened our eyes and found the whole crew clapping for us. It was quite embarrassing.

Were you apprehensive about having to do a kissing scene in the film?

Of course! I was apprehensive because of the country we live in, the repercussions, what people would think. If I was in a Hollywood film, I would probably not think much of it.

How comfortable are you with Hindi?

My dialogues are a mix of Hindi and English. I told Rajshree that I didn't want my lines to be in English only because I wanted to show people that I can speak Hindi. Since she wanted to keep it real, I spoke in both languages.


Image: Lisa Haydon

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'I learnt dance under Shiamak Davar for five years'

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How do you feel, now that your first film is due for release?

The first time I saw the trailer on the big screen, I got very excited. Sometimes when I see myself on screen, I get nervous. I wonder what I'm doing on screen; what people will think of me. People will form an opinion about you after watching the film.

Are you a good dancer? You had to do a lot of that in the film.

I am a dancer more than anything else. I'm most familiar with that. But it wasn't easy -- we had to rehearse a lot. I have learnt Bharat Natyam, Kathak and ballet. I learnt dance under Shiamak Davar for five years.

Have you read or watched any of the Emma films?

Of course. In the book, Miss Fairfax is a very demure, soft spoken, young lady. It is hard to find anything wrong with her because she doesn't say or do much to step on your toes. Aarti, on the other hand, is more modern. She's in your face. She has this aura about her.

I like Gwyneth Paltrow's version of Emma better because I'm a big fan of hers. But I was asked to watch Kate Beckinsale's version because that is closer to what Rajshree wanted.


Image: Lisa Haydon

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'Imran Khan was very cute in I Hate Luv Storys'

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Have you match made your friends?

I am a bit of a meddler. I have match made people successfully. I tried to match make my sister but that went wrong. I think it is better not to meddle unless you really know the people.

What do you think about Hindi films and its stars?

I like Hrithik Roshan, and after watching I Hate Luv Storys, I thought Imran Khan was very cute. I think Aishwarya (Rai Bachchan) is very beautiful. Even Sonam.

What kind of roles would you like to do?

I would love to do a comedy. My friends say I can be very funny and that if I do a comedy film, it will definitely be a hit.


Image: Lisa Haydon

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