Lisa Haydon is one of the more visible markers of Bollywood’s shift toward a western idea of beauty: tan, leggy and athletic rather than buxom. Apart from last year’s sleeper hit Queen, the Indian-Australian Haydon has been offered parts in more mainstream films, like Aisha (2010), Rascals (2011) and The Shaukeens (2014). But in Queen, her appeal went beyond the exotic. Her character, Vijaylakshmi, was filled out in warm tones: she’s fun, kind and not given to regrets. In spirit, if not in the details, she seems to have been written for the actor playing her.

There is a lightness to this 28-year-old even in person. She laughs easily, waves at the kids staring at her in the mall and doesn’t let this acting gig define her. “It’s important to be able to step out of it all. I don’t think I’d ever be happy just being absorbed in one way of life. If any one scene starts to define me, I jump out of it.” As she fills her time in between films with Pilates, road tr
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