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'I won't take up just any item song that I am offered'

Last updated on: September 28, 2011 18:26 IST

Image: Lisa Haydon in Rascals
Patcy N in Mumbai

You saw this Australian actress play Aarti Menon in Aisha. Now, she will be seen shaking her booty in Shake It Saiyaan in David Dhawan's Rascals.

Lisa Haydon plays one of the lead roles in the film, that has the likes of Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgn, Kangna Ranaut and Arjun Rampal. 

Lisa talks to Patcy N about what it's like being in a comic movie, in Bollywood, acting with some of the bigger names in the industry. 

How did Aisha change your life and career?

Aisha was a very good place to start. I was keen to be part of the project because it was a fashionable movie and I was comfortable working with lots of people that I knew from before. It didn't change my life in a huge way, but it was a good start; if I had not done Aisha I would probably not be doing Rascals.

'I am very lucky to share screen space with Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgn'

Image: Lisa Haydon in Rascals

In one of our interviews you said your friends pressed you to do a comic film since you have great comic timing.  Was that the reason you signed up for a comic film?

I took up Rascals because I like David (Dhawan, director) sir and I liked the script when he came to me with it. It just happened to be a comedy, which is the genre I like very much so that was very exciting for me.

What specially interested you in Rascals?

I am very lucky to share screen space and learn from legendary actors like Sanjay Dutt and Ajay Devgn. That was definitely a plus point. But the reason I took the film was because I wanted to work in a comedy film and I wanted to work with David sir. Besides, I thought my character was very funny.

'I am not here to steal anyone's limelight'

Image: Lisa Haydon in Rascals
First we heard that you are just doing an item number in the movie, then we heard your role got bigger, and now you are the lone actress promoting the film, like the main lead in the film...?

What a pressure (laughs).

There was a perception that I was just doing the item number because of my song Shake It Saiyaan. Everybody likes the song and everybody's attention has been drawn to the song. But I do have a substantial role in the film.

Kangna is not part of the promotions so you are getting lots of importance...

I am not here to steal anyone's limelight, to get all the importance. I think it is important to promote a film after having shot for it because it encourages people to go and watch it. I am just doing my job.

'Sanjay Dutt is the kind of person who makes everyone around him comfortable'

Image: Sanjay Dutt and Lisa Haydon in Rascals
How was it working with Sanjay Dutt and Ajay Devgn? Did they give you tips and advice on camera angles etc?

Camera angles and all those things you learn over time and the best person to give me that advice would be the director.

Both the actors are very encouraging. Normally, when an actor comes to the sets he will shoot and concentrate on the role, but Sanjay Dutt is the kind of person who makes everyone around him comfortable. I think he did that being the producer of the film so that was very nice and an endearing quality about him.

What was a day on the sets like?

No tension, zero tension. There was definitely work -- we were there to do our jobs and play our characters -- but there was definitely lots of enjoyment on the sets.
I had asked David sir how to prepare for my role and he said don't do too much, just come to the sets full of energy, just be prepared to give it your all and keep your energy high because this is an all-out entertainer.

I think when shooting a David Dhawan film, you look like you are having a good time and that's important because it is a comedy.

'This is my first item number'

Image: Lisa Haydon in Rascals
You look really gorgeous in Shake It Saiyaan. What was it like shooting for that?

It was a fantastic experience. I had fun because I love dancing and this is my first item number. Vishal and Shekhar have written an amazing song with a really catchy beat.

Working with Bosco-Cesar on choreography was also amazing. Actually it was fun just doing rehearsals because I got to dance so much. I am glad that the song is getting a good response.

If you are offered more item numbers will you take them?

It depends on the item number; I won't take up anything that I am offered. I have to like the song, I have to understand what role that song is playing in the film and based on that I guess I will choose.

'Sanjay and Ajay have a great sense of humour'

Image: Ajay Devgn and Lisa Haydon in Rascals
Since Ajay Devgn and Sanjay Dutt are pranksters, did they bully you?

No, I think they, like, pick on people their size. Why would they pick on me? They never played any prank on me. They are just very funny people, they both have a great sense of humour and they are both comedians as well. It was just fun being around them.

What kind of cinema did you grow up watching in Australia?

I grew up watching Hindi films and Hollywood films. I have seen Taal, Sree 420, Guide. My Hollywood heroines were Esther Williams and Judy Garland. I love watching 1930s films and actresses.

'I didn't think the step into Bollywood would happen so quickly'

Image: Lisa Haydon in Rascals
As a kid, did you ever think you would come to India and become an actress?

I did want to act, but I didn't think that the step into Bollywood would happen so quickly. It was always something that was at the back of my mind, even when I was living in Australia. I used to go to acting classes, I wanted to act but where I wanted to act that wasn't sure. I started modelling and then I also wanted to be a yoga teacher. 

I am glad that I am in Bollywood because this is the exciting place to be right now, the kind of roles that are here right now probably weren't there ten years ago. 

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Playing good roles, working with directors who will enhance my craft. I would like to carry on acting, I really enjoy the experience. 

'I want to play roles like Penelope Cruz's in Vicky Christina Barcelona'

Image: Lisa Haydon in Rascals
The role you'd like to play?

When I saw Vicky Christina Barcelona, I loved it. I like Penelope Cruz's role -- she plays this eccentric, crazy, passionate artist.

Have you signed any more films?

I haven't signed any other film but I am going to sign one soon. I would rather speak about it after I have signed.