makes Lisa tick
she walks into the hotel lobby, heads turn.
porcelain complexion, charcoal-black mane, cognac eyes and
never-ending legs does have that kind of impact on most people.
Lisa Ray has been around for nine years (she started at 16!)
and is almost close to the stars now. That's thanks to her
silver screen debut. Lisa, who scorched our TV screens (way
back in the '90s) romping around in slinky towels (remember
the Bombay Dyeing ad) has shaken a leg with Daler Mehndi in
the Har Taraf Tera Jalwa video, and now takes her first bow
in films with Vikram Bhatt's Kasoor opposite Aftaab Mast Shivdasani.
'I simply love all my roles ,as an actress, model, anchorwoman,
music video star and now brand ambassadress for Rado watches,'purrs
the lovely Lisa.
No, she doesn't think she'll do a mean job by juggling too
many things at one go! 'I think it is possible for a person
to channelise oneself in many directions if one is a little
organised. I would hate to just be an actress or a model when
I have the time and inclination to do so much more. See, the
important thing is to be selective about what you do. For
example, I have done just a couple of music videos and enjoyed
them. Even my show on Star Plus 'Star Biz 'is the only TV
show I am doing. But these are all extensions of an acting
career,'she brags with pleasure.
much of the bonhomie with co-anchor Kelly Dorjee in Star Biz
is for real?
'We have great fun shooting together. There's a lot of backslapping
and instant rapport between Kelly and me. Although we are
given scripts, we are allowed to say a word or two if we've
seen the film ourselves. I am a major movie buff but I hardly
get any time to see films,'she pouts mournfully. For Lisa,
playing brand ambassadress is nice: 'After a point, the money
doesn't matter. I believe in timeless beauty and Rado is all
about that. Making public appearances to promote the brand
and taking part in all the events organised by Rado is simply
part of the deal,'
special about her debut film Kasoor?
'Vikram Bhatt is an amazing director and he's given me a lovely
role. I can't say more about it yet, but I am not going to
just sing and dance around trees. Then there is an untitled
film with Hrithik Roshan and Amisha Patel where I have a fabulous
character role. I get swamped with film offers but I am not
crazy about doing any and every kind of role. I am happy about
what I am doing. The day I get bored I'll do something else,'she
chuckles with gay abandon.
Ray: Expanding Horizons
half-Indian, half-Polish; but 100 per cent attractive. Gorgeous
Lisa Ray has been a top-notch model for most of the last decade:
she endorses Lakme and is the ambassador for Rado watches.
And now Ms Ray is exhibiting typical model behaviour by tip-toeing
into the world of Hindi films albeit, in her case,
with an author-backed role in Vikram Bhatt's suspense thriller,
Kasoor opposite Aftab Shivdasani.
Lisa is quite a revelation. She defies conventional straitjacketing
as she turns out to be much more Indian and much less the
air-headed model than I had expected.
of an interview with her:
does it feel to have 'movie actress' added to your resume?
It's not hit me as yet, so it's not something larger-than-life
for me. What I do feel is that it has been a wonderful experience,
where I've been able to push myself professionally, and where
I've even evolved somewhat as a person.
are you playing in Kasoor?
know everyone says that my film and my role are the greatest,
but I'll tell you why my role in Kasoor is genuinely exciting.
For the first time, or at least after a very long time, there
is a strong female central character in our films. I play
a young, professional, independent woman, the likes of which
are not typically seen in a Hindi commercial film format.
I am playing a lawyer in the film and I take on the case of
a man (Aftab Shivdasani) who is accused of murdering his wife.
It's a suspense thriller, so I can't give away anything else.
models, indeed most actresses, begin with a peripheral, song-and-dance
role. Was it difficult for you to plunge straight into a central
probably would have felt a lot more out of place, if I was
singing and dancing and skipping away without having anything
else to do. I think I was considered for the role because
my sensibilities match with that of my character. Besides,
everyone was so supportive and we knew we were doing something
different, so it wasn't really so tough for me.
you like performing?
quite convinced that Vikram Bhatt can make anyone act. See,
I'm not trained in acting (I'm very comfortable in front of
the camera but that's two different things actually.).
I was very fortunate to have a director of Vikram's calibre,
who literally draws out a performance from an actor. He explains
the emotional context of a scene in such a way that you can't
help but feel the same way as your character. The first time
I realised I had actually performed, it was amazing. It was
a very emotional scene and I managed to cry throughout the
shot without any glycerine. As soon as the shot was over,
everyone was like 'Great shot'; but then they in a very matter
of fact manner moved on to lighting the next shot. But I was
sitting there feeling completely shattered, and wanting a
little attention and caring. So acting is very exhilarating,
but also totally draining.
said acting also helped you evolve as a person. How was that?
is therapeutic. In the process of expressing such intense
emotions, I went into certain areas of myself that I hadn't
explored in a long time. I drew upon certain memories and
experiences, which I had pushed into a closet. I discovered
that you can't bury things. I was the kind of person who kept
looking ahead, never glanced back. I thought that was the
right thing to do turns out it may not be the case.
So through acting, I discovered certain ways of coping with
you give me an example when performing was like therapy?
was as a result of a very serious car accident some years
back, that I found myself back in India, and modelling. It
was a very traumatic part of my life. My mother was very badly
injured, and to she is still in a wheelchair, because of the
accident. But perhaps, I hadn't fully exorcised myself of
those feelings of tragedy. I'm basically introverted, and
also I felt that I had to be strong for my family at that
time. So I never explored those emotions; the great sense
of grief that I felt. But while doing the film, I finally
allowed myself to draw upon my past and face the sadness;
while of course keeping the story's context in mind.
you see yourself doing more films?
found the Kasoor experience very positive, but I'm also realistic
about the fact that not many of these kind of films get made.
And that there are not many set-ups in commercial Hindi films
where I would feel comfortable. I'll give you just a small
example of a director who couldn't communicate with me in
a language that I could relate to, and by that I don't mean
English or Hindi, but the need for a certain common wavelength.
But I do hope that I can seek out people with similar sensibilities,
because I'd love to work in more films.
fluent are you in Hindi?
understand it perfectly, but my diction leaves a lot to be
desired there's no doubt about that. Obviously, it's
no secret that I don't think in Hindi, and that I'm not completely
fluent in it. I'm not dubbing my voice at this point of time,
but in the future I hope to do so.
aren't you doing the Hrithik-Esha-Saif film, Na Tum Jaano
Na Hum anymore?
walked out of that film after the first day's shooting, because
I felt a little uncomfortable.
talking of the hot scene you have done with Aftab in Kasoor.
no idea why everyone is saying that. I'm sorry to disappoint
everyone, but there is no such hot scene.
your standards or by Hindi film standards?
I'm an Indian. I don't understand why there should be a differentiation.
I myself am very conservative at heart.
you began modelling, you had quite a sexy image. Is that continued
at all. And none of the work I do is an extension of that
either. Even my modelling is not at all similar to what I
did earlier. Not that I regret anything I did earlier, but
I've evolved and changed.
us about your background.
grew up in Toronto, Canada. It's absurd and there's no way
you can explain it, but I've always felt that I belong in
India. We used to come to India for vacations. In fact, my
father's family are very orthodox Bengalis living in Calcutta,
and I've been heavily steeped in our culture. I didn't grow
up here, but in spirit I've always been a part of India.
late, there has been a contingent of NRI's trying to make
it in the entertainment world. What do you think attracts
them to India?
no idea, because I think I was the first (laughs). As far
as my break goes, I I was approached while I was here on a
vacation. I was only 16 then.
ambitious, but not competitive. I've done things that I'm
not supposed to. For a year, I went completely underground.
I did it to prove to myself that I could detach myself. Also,
people perceive you as an image. Full stop. So I needed to
detach myself and get some perspective. I came out with the
realisation that there was a lot more I could do with my life.
But luckily for me, instead of having to change professions,
I was able to incorporate that into my profession.