Lisa Hayden is loving the terrific response her performance got in Queen.
"Kangna (Ranaut, who has the leading role in the film) and I have spoken about our karmic connection," says Lisa. "Both of us did a film called Rascals two years ago and we both felt like fish out of water. The film was an agonizing experience for both of us, and now, we’re both feeling a sense of triumph and euphoria after Queen. It’s amazing!”
Lisa admits she was tempted to call it quits after Rascals. “I realised I was not cut out to be a conventional Bollywood heroine. After Rascals, I thought I was not going to last here. Adding hair-extensions, false eyelashes and other accessories and dancing with heroes to a raunchy beat was just not me.”
Director Vikas Bahl was a ray of hope for both.
"Vikas came in with the free-spirited Vijay Laxmi’s part at a time when I had reached a deadend in my movie career," says Lisa. "Doing item numbers in revealing clothes was not what I was cut out to do.”
The part of the bohemian single mother Vijay Laxmi was something new to Lisa. "I didn’t know such a character existed in Bollywood cinema. Vikas actually tailored the role to suit my personality. This is not to say that Vijay Laxmi wasn’t interesting the way she was. She was a wild child, a single mother who drinks hard and swears hard. She is nothing like what audiences in our country expect our female characters to be.”
And yet, audiences have embraced the character wholeheartedly.
Lisa can’t believe the adulation she is getting. “I am currently doing city tours of Queen. The film’s popularity is growing by word-of-mouth,and so is the reach and appeal of Kangna and my character.”
Lisa makes no bones about the fact that the script has an author-backed role for Kangna. “We were very clear from the start on that. And yet when Vikas offered Vijay Laxmi to me, I knew there was something about this girl that would make her very special. Vikas had written Vijay Laxmi’s character in one way. But when he met me, he added strokes to the character, and made her closer to the way I was, so that I could embrace her as though I knew her all my life.”
Lisa's Catholic family is not much into Hindi films but they watched Queen and loved her in it.
Laughs Lisa, “The thing is, my family is not fluent in Hindi. Neither am I. But I am working on my language. I have dubbed all my Hindi lines in my next film Akash Deep’s Santa Banta. My family loved the film, and my character. They went back again to see the film. That was the moment when I realised we had done something special.”
Queen has given back Lisa her self-worth. “I felt I was a misfit in Bollywood. I couldn’t connect with the things that I was required to do. I felt my personality was too peculiar to blend in Bollywood. Queen has taught me to celebrate my uniqueness. Yeah, I am not like other Bollywood heroines, and I am comfortable with that now.
"I keep getting offers for item songs but I don’t want to get into that groove again. After Queen, I need a role and a character that is equally special. I can wait for it come. I am in no hurry,” she says.