You might have seen her in several television commercials like Nokia, Ponds, Sunsilk and Lays. Hazel isn’t a new face on small screen but is making her big screen debut with a film unusually titled MP3. “Well, MP3 stands for Mera Pehla Pehla Pyaar. It’s a catchy name and it’s different”, says Hazel. Have a look at her namesake complexion and you get a fair idea of her foreign origin. “I am originally from England and that’s where I was born and brought up. My grandfather is an Indian and my father was English. So I spent most of my life in England and then I went backpacking in Thailand and after which I came to India. The first few months were difficult to fit in and get work but now it’s pretty relaxed and I like it.”
How did her transition from modeling to films happen? “Actually speaking, I came to India to get into Hindi films”. So does she think she can act? “Well I have always been into acting. In school I was part of the acting class. I haven’t had any serious training but it’s always been a hobby. I am a trained dancer and I am also learning kathak at the moment. I love all different styles of dancing”.
But wasn’t it difficult to find a film in a foreign country? “Robby Grewal, the director of the film had seen my ads on TV and he asked someone to call me. I wasn’t to keen on auditioning as my Hindi wasn’t too good and I wanted to wait for sometime till I learnt some more. Also there weren’t many stars in the film so I wasn’t very keen on it. But these guys kept calling me and I kept making excuses.” That’s quite an honest confession. But then how did she land herself in the film despite all the excuses. She has another interesting story to tell us. “Ruslaan, the guy who is playing the lead in the film gave me a call. And when I knew that Ruslaan was involved I had a good feeling about it because Ruslan and I have already done ad films together and we get along very well with each other. I thought there is something special about this guy so why not just give it a go. Then I auditioned about three times and eventually they took me for the role.” That’s quite a cool chemistry to begin with.
Is MP3 another college love story? “It’s not really a college love story. But more of a school love story. It’s not really filmy and Robby has tried to make it as realistic as possible”. A realistic love story? That sounds strange since most love stories take you to a surreal world? “It’s a teenage love story about this guy Rohan who is a spoilt brat. He has everything easy and nice. I play Ayesha who is a NRI and comes to Delhi for the first time with her father and I am starting a new school. Ruslan and I become friends and various different things happen and we keep falling out and realize that we have a crush on each other. It’s basically this kid feeling for the opposite sex. Eventually I go to Paris for a holiday and Rohan realizes that he is in love with me. Half the film is about Rohan and me trying to get to the Eiffel tower and about their adventure in trying to get there. I have got my family chasing me and he has the police chasing him. The first half of the film is set in Delhi and the second half is set in Paris”.
With a foreign origin, is she comfortable speaking in Hindi or someone dubbed for her as in the usual trend? “No one dubbed for me. It’s my voice in the film. I am getting comfortable with the language now”. Post MP3, will she continue modeling for brands? “No I haven’t taken up anything as yet. I am waiting for a while. And I am not doing any ad films now”. Seems like Hazel has already bid an adieu to the advertising world and plans a future in Bollywood.
On an ending note, ask her about her striking resemblance to Yana Gupta and she reverts “Vaguely it is possible but otherwise I would say she is different from me”.