Delhi girl Ayesha Khanna was happy to have a blooming career as a stylist in Bollywood. Compliments did come her way in practically every meet and conversation, courtesy her pretty looks. There were more than just hints thrown on the lines of ‘Kabhi Heroine Banne Ke Baare Mein Socha Hai?’ Still, Ayesha moved on with her job as a stylist and was content making other heroines look pretty. Until, filmmaker Sanamjit Singh Talwar caught fancy of her and pursued her enough to be the leading lady of Harman Baweja starrer Dishkiyaoon. With Shilpa Shetty and Eros pegging her on too, the girl eventually relented.
One hears it was pretty much a ‘luck by chance’ moment for you to enter Bollywood as a leading lady, right?
(Smiles) I have had very interesting journey to reach where I have. I am from Delhi and was working as a stylist for films with Yashraj. Then, I was working on costumes with Dishkiyaoon for about a month. They were looking for a costume designer for Harman and I met Shilpa to discuss some styling references for Harman and the lead girls. She saw me and told Sanamjit that ‘Ayesha is so pretty so why are we auditioning so many girls? Let us call her for an audition as well’. Sanam was anyways being persuasive and made sure that I went for the audition the very next morning.
What went in your mind at that time? After all, this seemed too close, too quick!
I just thought that here I am someone who has never ever thought of acting but then people like Shilpa are calling me for an audition. Since I had no expectations from myself in the audition, there were no inhibitions either. I guess this is the reason why my audition went on well as I was not nervous at all. Sanamjit was impressed and I was signed for the film. So yes, in a way this has been my fairytale.
Since you were first roped in as a stylist for the film, you must have known the script. Weren’t you apprehensive that what would you have to do in a gangster affair?
As a matter of fact I was the first one to have actually read the script as I was coming on board as the costume designer. Sanamjit asked me what I thought of it. I told him that the script was nice and different with the girl’s character being very interesting. You know, after offering the film to me first and when I said no, he met 98 other girls! Eventually when I said yes, he said to me that ‘Ayesha, you are the 99th girl who auditioned for this role’. Then I had to remind him that I was not 99th but the first (laughs). That makes me feel good till date.
So how has it been enacting the twin role of a stylist and an actor in the film?
To begin with, I have got credit for both in the film (smiles). I did the costumes for other characters, though for me and Harman, we got Rocky S. to help out. For others, as I had already been working on them for a month, I decided the look and sourced the costumes so as to take the job to conclusion.
Didn’t you ever feel like designing for yourself too?
I guess it was an advantage to have someone else do it for me. The thing is that even though I am a stylist, one tends to lose perspective when you have to imagine yourself in certain kind of clothes, hair and makeup. Having said that, my look in the film is quite similar to what I am in the real life.
Talking of Harman, he has worked with an experienced actress like Priyanka Chopra before. Was it tough to form a tuning with him, courtesy the fact that you are a debutant?
I think Harman was sensitive enough to know what to say to me so that I didn’t feel nervous. He was never flustered and was always patient which was nice of me as it made me believe more in myself. Though he has done a few films before, he was behaving like a newcomer on the sets with full dedication and 100% conviction.
Are you looking at a dedicated career as an actress now? If so, what do you plan to pick on next?
I would love to do a kind of movie that I love enjoy watching myself. My favorite director is Imtiaz Ali and I would love to do a movie with him. As for a dedicated career ahead, let this movie be released first. I am yet to sign on someone who can look after my work. For now, my greatest fear as a newcomer is that no one even has my contact number in case he/she wishes to call me!