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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Lisa Haydon Talks Motherhood & Women Empowerment in Bollywood

Lisa Haydon is a name that exudes glamour, beauty and talent.

Originally, Haydon aspired to be a yoga teacher at the age of 18.

Studying psychology on the side, she took her friend’s suggestion to pursue modelling to pay for the classes and rent.

She started modelling in Australia with her first assignment being for stretch mark cream.

Encouraged by her sister’s modelling acts in India, she moved to India in 2007 to pursue a modelling career there and got a few advertisement assignments.

Slowly and steadily, Lisa has cemented her place in Bollywood through films like Aisha, The Shaukeens, Housefull 3 and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.

Life as a Mother

Aside from acting, Haydon is also a model in India and internationally who appears on several popular magazine covers such as Harper’s Bazaar, Grazia, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Verve, Vogue India, Femina, FHM, Hello! And L’Officiel.

After tying the knot with businessman Dino Lalvani in 2016, she became a mother to Zack two-years-ago.

“Motherhood is going really well for me. Obviously becoming a mum is an amazing experience in any woman’s life.

I spent a good 4/5 years really intensely jumping from film to film and having that little moment of stepping back a little has been wonderful,” she tells Filme Shilmy.

Of recent, Lisa seems to have been quite occupied with endorsements her own fashion line and the judge/host of the reality show, Top Model India.

She hopes to be seen in movies again soon:

“But of course, I’ve been running back and forth to Mumbai for my endorsements and TV Shows… Hopefully, films soon.”

Queen – Her Most Acclaimed Work Yet

Over time, Lisa is seen in an array of ‘commercial’ and mainstream Bollywood films.

She was apparently spotted by Anil Kapoor in a coffee shop and soon her agent received a phone call for a role in the comedy-drama Aisha, alongside Sonam Kapoor.

In Aisha, she Aarti Menon, a New-York returned, white-collared, corporate yuppie.

Post this, she was seen in David Dhawan’s comedy outing Rascals, as a supporting character alongside Ajay Devgn, Sanjay Dutt and Kangana Ranaut.

This is a similar trait in Housefull 3 which is a multi-strarrer comedy consisting of names like Akshay Kumar, Abhishek Bachchan, Riteish Deshmukh, Nargis Fakhri and Jacqueline Fernandez.

In her last movie, which was Karan Johar’s romantic razzmatazz Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, her character tickles the funny bones as Ranbir Kapoor’s love interest in the film.

However, her most acclaimed work though is in Queen, co-starring Kangana Ranaut.

In that Anurag Kashyap production, Haydon portrays Vijayalakshmi, a single mother who has a child out of wedlock and works in a hotel for a living.

She ends up meeting Rani (Kangana Ranaut) who is in Europe for a solo honeymoon after she is abandoned by her fiancee on her wedding day.

There are some who might feel that an ordinary character like hers in Queen can be deemed to be ‘progressive’ and ‘modern’.

But Lisa disagrees with this belief.

“I actually feel that characters like Vijayalakshmi were quite normal.

In comparison to who she was pitched against seems progressive, but both the characters (the other being Kangana’s character) in the film are quite similar,” she explains.

Lisa’s View on the Rise in Female-Oriented Films in Bollywood

The award-winning Queen paved the way for female-oriented films in Hindi cinema and lately, this style of films have been very popular.

The year 2018, in fact, can be touted to be the year of the woman in Bollywood.

Movies like Padmaavat, Raazi, Hichki, Veere Di Wedding were commercially successful, proving that Bollywood no longer requires a male hero to guarantee box-office success.

As such, the #MeToo movement has finally gained momentum in India and many actors have spoken out against facing sexual harassment in Indian cinema. 

So what is Lisa’s opinion on this rising trend of women empowerment?

“I feel that female-centric movies are just going to keep increasing and progressing.

This is because women are currently at a phase where they want to have their voices heard so it’s at a really great phase but it’s going to sky-rocket from here.”

She further mentions:

“It’s going to take time for the prefix of ‘female-centric’ to be omitted and for it to be just ‘cinema’.

I do agree that overseas here in the UK and Hollywood, we’ve had ‘chick flicks’ for the longest time.

When really it shouldn’t be deemed as a ‘chick flick’ but a film with girls in it!”

What’s Next?

Lisa has just returned from Iceland and going by the images on her Instagram, the holiday seems like she had a gala time.

On Friday 12th April, she attended The Asian Awards which celebrated its 9th year at the Grosvenor House in Park Lane, London.

Given that she has done mainly comedy movies, what style of films will she be looking out for next?

“I can’t really say because it always appeals to you when it does.

By saying ‘I want to do this’ puts me in a box and often at times things come to you when you least expect it. I didn’t expect to get a film like Queen.

I didn’t know that they made such characters and I’m open to anything that really piques my interest and curiosity” (smiles).

We hope we get to see Lisa back on celluloid soon as she always enhances the ‘Vaatavaran’ of a movie.

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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