Lisa Haydon is Ahana in the Shaukeens after being Vijaylakshmi in Queen

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  • Published 11.10.14

After traipsing into our hearts as the free-living and free-thinking Vijaylakshmi in Queen, Lisa Haydon stars in her first solo heroine film The Shaukeens. The leggy stunner is Ahana, the object of lust of three 60-plus men in a remake of the Basu Chatterjee film Shaukeen with Anupam Kher-Annu Kapoor-Piyush Mishra trying to do what Ashok Kumar-Utpal Dutt-AK Hangal had done back in 1982. Yes, Lisa is doing a Rati Agnihotri in the November 7 release.

The Shaukeens trailer has had mixed reactions. What’s the feedback you’ve been getting for the look and feel of the film?

The unanimous reaction is that everyone thinks that the film will be really funny… one hell of a laugh riot. Even at the trailer launch, everyone who saw the trailer couldn’t stop laughing. As far as I am concerned, I am very happy with the way the film has turned out. Given the way women are treated and portrayed in our country, a film with the theme of three old men vying for the attentions of a girl half their age could have gone into sticky territory, but The Shaukeens has turned out to be pure and clean fun. I think that has happened because the three actors (Anupam Kher, Annu Kapoor and Piyush Mishra) I have worked with have really worked hard to keep the film clean and classy.

This is your first solo heroine film. That must be quite a high for you…

Yes, it definitely is exciting but that’s not just because I am a solo heroine in The Shaukeens. I got tremendous satisfaction playing Vijaylakshmi in Queen, which was just about a 20-minute role. What I really liked about The Shaukeens was the freedom to delve into the character and live that person’s life for a little while. I really loved the fact that the role was very meaty and gave me a lot to do as an actor. It’s the best offer I got since Queeand I grabbed it with both hands. The best thing is that I have always been offered bohemian roles, but ever since Queen happened, people have come to me with all kinds of roles. So that’s pretty exciting.

Vijaylakshmi of Queen was all Lisa Haydon. How much of Ahana in The Shaukeens is you in real life?

Vijaylakshmi and I had a lot more in common than Ahana and I do. The only similar bit between me, Vijaylakshmi and Ahana is that we have all grown up outside India. Ahana is a very interesting personality… she’s simple yet complicated. She’s this very naive and innocent girl, very endearingly so, but she’s also got this very strange psychotic streak where she’s obsessed with Akshay Kumar the filmstar (laughs). She sets up situations in life to make herself look more fabulous than what she really is. I don’t really relate to that girlie innocence in Ahana because I feel that I had to grow up very quickly in life, but as I was playing her, I realised that nothing that she does comes from a bad place… she’s just someone who is totally lost in life.

There are these three old men who fall in love and lust with her and she has noooooo clue! (Laughs) She’s quite confused in life.

Were you intimidated by the veterans you had to share screen space with?

Strangely, that’s not something that happened to me, although it should have since I was sharing the same space with such huge actors. But that’s what it is actually... they are all such great actors that they never came with any kind of baggage. They have got so far because they are team players.

Aisha to Queen, so far you’ve played a sexy, independent woman who knows what she wants. Isn’t there the fear of being typecast?

That is definitely a possibility but honestly, I wouldn’t really be worried about that till I reach a stage where I am bored with what I am doing. Right now, I am enjoying what I am doing… I am on a constant high professionally… it’s just the beginning for me. And I also think it’s up to us as actors to bring something new to each character we play, even if they belong to the same genre. There is no bad role… an actor is personally responsible in making a character look good or bad.

How much has the appreciation for Queen contributed to your confidence as an actor?

That kind of appreciation does make you confident. I was far more at ease when I was shooting for The Shaukeens. I am someone who relies a lot on feedback, whether from the audience or from my director. In Queen, I did not get a lot of feedback during the shoot because obviously Vikas (Bahl, the director) had a lot more on his mind than just my performance. It was only when Queen released that I realised that: ‘Yes, I am doing the right thing’. I felt good when I played Vijaylakshmi and when the audience reacted positively, it just reaffirmed my confidence as an actor.

Finally, Ahana in The Shaukeens is obsessed with Akshay Kumar. Growing up, did you have a similar obsession for a famous face?

I was really into this one guy… but I feel so embarrassed to talk about it! (Laughs out loud) It’s sooooo gay… you wouldn’t wanna know! Okay, it was this guy from The Backstreet Boys… Nick Carter…. If you are going to write this, please mention that I was just 11 then! (Laughs) I was quite mad about him… he was really cute… at least I found him cute then (giggles).