She started her Bollywood career with Aisha in 2010. Later, the half-Indian-half-Australian model-turned-actor, Lisa Haydon acted in David Dhawan's dud, Rascals (2011).
But it is only this year, for her performance in Vikas Bahl's Queen, that she has really come into the limelight, receiving rave reviews for her part. In this freewheeling chat, she opens up about working in Bollywood, dealing with stereotypes, relating with her free-spirited character, and her future plans.
You must be happy with the response you've been getting for Queen after doing Aisha and Rascals?
I don't think there are any comparisons, although people have been making them. I don't think it's fair to the other directors. All the films I have done have been well-directed. They have all been appreciated in their own way. Queen is special to me because of the character that I play. I think Vijaylakshmi is a free-spirited and an amazing girl and it's just nice that people somehow feel that they can relate to her. Every girl has this side to her.
Are you anything like this free-spirited character?
Our mentality is similar; in the sense that I don't believe in making too many plans. I have never had boxes that I needed to tick. So yes, I do relate to her.
Like your character, would you have a child out of wedlock?
That's a very controversial question. I am not going to answer it because I don't think I can give you the right answer. If I say no, it will seem judgemental, and if I say yes, then it's going to be your headline.
Have you ever felt that film-makers want to see you doing item numbers or reveal more on screen?
When you live in India, there are a lot of stereotypes. There's a behenji, there's a hot girl and there's a hero. I don't believe in stereotypes. For example, in Queen, there’s a behenji and there’s a hot girl. But Vikas didn't treat it like that. He let each person be a human being.
Do you believe in love or lust?
Of course I believe in love, everyone does. Who doesn't believe in love?
You've done limited work in the last few years. Why?
There were a lot of offers, but I probably didn’t get offered the things I wanted. Life is like that, it’s not always the right time. But there’s no saga or anything to it. I have carried on modelling. I’ve done TV shows and launched an organic skincare line. So, life has been perfectly busy.
Where do you see your career heading now?
I don't make plans. I live in the moment. I see it going to fabulous places. I want to play unconventional roles of independent and strong women. Women who get to showcase their power and their fun, fearless and amazing side.
Have you signed any new film?
I haven't signed anything since Queen. The good thing to do is to be patient and wait for something fabulous.
Have you faced any stereotypes in the film industry?
Because I am tall and I have raven hair and skin to match, and my Hindi wasn't strong when I came to this country, people wanted to put me in the 'hot' box without thinking too much. They didn't want to do it, but maybe that was natural. They assumed that that was where I belonged. But it took someone like Vikas to look deeper. If you carry on being yourself, eventually, someone is going to see who you are. It took a bit longer, but we got here.