star talk
Another beauty queen for Bollywood

Diana Hayden could not resist the glamour of cinema
Diana Hayden could not resist the glamour of cinema

After a cameo in Khalid Mohammed’s Tehzeeb, Diana Hayden took time to decide whether she should woo Bollywood or stay away. But the arc-lights proved too tempting for her. Diana’s next Ab Bas is soon to be released. In an exclusive interview to Vickey Lalwani, Diana talks of her life and work.

Despite being flooded by offers, why didn't you sign your first film immediately after you won the Miss World crown?

To tell you the truth, I was not much inclined towards films at that point in time. I chose to stay abroad for better part of the time. There were producers who called me even when I was away but I was not interested.

But, wouldn't you have been able to demand a higher pay had you signed films earlier?

I guess that's true. But, it doesn't matter to me if I can't demand a price as high as I could have during my Miss World days. I have never salivated for money.

Why did you choose such a teeny-weeny role for your debut?

I was offered Tehzeeb when I was on a trip to India. I actually did it because this was the first time I was offered such a short role; it allowed me to test the waters. I didn't want to dive in straightaway. I realised that I could swim and I was enjoying it.

So that's precisely why you changed your mind and packed your bags to come to India?


But don't you think that your role was too insignificant in context of the film?

I have no problems if some critics thought that I had an insignificant role. Khalid Mohammed did not cheat me, he had clearly narrated the length of my role before we started. Also, my role made an impact as it succeeded in establishing Arjun Rampal's loyalty as a husband.

Were you disappointed when the film didn't click at the box office?

Not really. It quite worked for me. I have bagged two films. In All Alone, I play a courtesan whose favourite client is Manoj Bajpai; the role is merely 25 minutes long, but sure to leave a mark. In Ab Bas, I will be seen in a full- length role as a traumatised wife whose husband Shawar Ali has an extramarital affair. Ab Bas will be released first.

Are you doing any preparations to make a mark in this fiercely competitive industry?

Having stayed abroad, I am working on my accent with a Hindi teacher for two hours. Plus I indulge in training of martial arts (two hours) and dance (one hour) every day. As for formal training in acting, I have had a year's stint in London.

There have been rumours linking you to Kaizad Gustad, Gulshan Grover and Zulfi Syed.

Yes, I was seriously involved with Kaizad Gustad. It was great while it lasted. We are not in touch but are cordial if we bump into each other at social functions. After Kaizad, I had another relationship. I would not disclose his name. Unfortunately, that too didn't last. However, the rumours that I am having a scene with Gulshan Grover and Zulfi Syed are preposterous, to say the least. On date, I am very much single.

Kaizad Gustad had a torrid time with the law recently. What is your take on that?

No comments, please don't drag me into this.

Are you ready to shed your clothes and do scenes wherein you have to get physically intimate? Ab Bas has a lot of steamy scenes and is almost a soft porn film

I did a kissing scene forOthello, shot in South Africa but it was done very subtly. I was offered Kaizad Guztad's Boom (Katrina Kaif's role), Mahesh Bhatt's Jism and Sanjay Gupta's Musafir, but found these portrayals too bold for me. I have lived abroad but my thinking is very Indian. I wouldn't like to hurt Indian sensibilities at any point in my career. I believe that if one can give a sincere performance in a film which has a good story, there is no need to strip one's way to the top.

(Interrupts) I have just a few passionate moments with Shawar. Most of the steamy scenes which you are talking about have been done by Nisha Harale.

Please elaborate on your character in Ab Bas.

I play the wife of an unfaithful man (Shawar) who decides to avenge her rejection. Nisha Harale plays the other woman.

Do you envy star daughters who get opportunities easily to prove themselves?

No. In fact, if you note, they are constantly under tremendous pressure due to the inevitable comparisons made between them and their parents. Go to see, we, beauty pageant winners, also get many offers much before we have actually proved ourselves.

Do you think Indian cinema is ready to have an actor with an English name?

Why not? The Indian audience has matured a lot. They appreciate any good work, irrespective of name, caste and religion. A classic case in point is the recent success story of John Abraham.

Does public relations matter a lot in getting roles in these times?

I neither attend parties nor hanker after producers for roles and Page 3 publicity. I don't need to be at the right place at the right time. It's a small industry and everyone who matters knows that Diana Hayden has shifted to India. Offers are coming and I have appointed a manager who is looking into them. I am here to stay.