Young and chirpy actress Ayesha Takia considers Nagesh Kukunoor's Dor, a poignant tale of two women, as the path-breaking film of her career. She says after the movie, people started taking her seriously as an actor.
"After Dor, viewers showed the confidence that I could play serious roles too and so I was offered roles in films like Eight By Ten and Wanted and many other big movies," Ayesha told IANS.
Ayesha is on the verge of completing another Kukunoor film titled Eight By Ten.
"Ten days of shooting is left. It also stars Akshay Kumar," said Ayesha who plays Akshay's wife in the supernatural thriller.
Her next release is De Taali, which will be showcased at the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards, starting June 6 in Bangkok.
Talking about the film, the dimpled actress said: "The character is totally in contrast to what I am in actual life. I play Ammu who is a complete tomboy. She is a complete brat and grows up with Aftab Shivdasani and Reitesh Deshmukh. She does what normally guys do."
Apart from De Taali", she has Boney Kapoor's Wanted Dead And Alive, which marks southern dancing superstar Prabhu Deva's entry into Hindi films as director.
The film is a remake of Tamil film Pokkiri, which was also directed by Prabhu Deva. In the action movie, Ayesha is paired with Salman Khan. Mahesh Manjrekar and Om Puri too feature in key roles.
The actress is also doing Ahmed Khan's film on four children titled Pathshala where she and Shahid Kapur play teachers.
Though Tarzan - The Wonder Car, for which she won the best debutant actress award in 2004, was released before Socha Na Tha, Ayesha considers Imtiaz Ali's romantic comedy as her debut film.
She said: "Socha Na Tha will always be my first film and close to my heart. Tarzan was an entertaining film but Socha Naa Tha had a lot of space for acting.'
Was she approached for Imtiaz's second film Jab We Met?
"Initially, Bobby and I were supposed to do the film, but the dates did not work out between us. But, I look forward to working with Imtiaz."
The actress faced the camera for the first time when she was four years old for an ad and later she did quite a few commercials and music videos.
How difficult was it to gain entry into films? "It was not at all difficult. I did not go looking for work. Imtiaz went through my audition tapes and called me to his office."
Ayesha feels that making an entry is not at all difficult if one has the talent and is ready to work hard.
So far Ayesha has worked mainly with new directors - does she have a preference for them?
"I don't have any preferences and I cannot afford it. It is just that the offers came from them. And it is always an exciting experience as new directors are always enthusiastic and hard working and give everything for the project as they know that their life depends on the project."
Did she plan to be an actress as a child?
"I was raised in a normal Gujarati style with all the restrictions and reservations. As far as plans are concerned, I did not have plans to become an actress in my childhood."
About a favourite co-star, Ayesha said: "I am not being diplomatic, I enjoyed working with all of them. Also, I am a very professional type of person. I finish my work and go home. I have no favourites, I enjoyed working with all of them."
Apparently Ayesha makes producers sign a contract on her reservations about intimate and steamy scenes.
She said: "Yes, I do sign a contract with every producer and mother has nothing to do with it. I have lived life according to my own principles and ideologies and I adhere to it."
The 23-year-old has done various roles ranging from comedy to serious characters, but prefers romantic movies. "I would like to do romantic films most and my second preference would be serious roles. Though I am not comfortable with stunts, I would definitely like to do an action film like Tomb Raider."
She is dating Farhan Azmi and has started a boutique hotel business with him, but has no immediate plans to marry him.
"I want to work and don't have any plans to marry now."