She often gets identified as, “Oh, Salman’s heroine!” but Daisy Shah is raring to make a name for herself in showbiz. The actress recently changed tracks and made her debut in theatre with Begum Jaan, where she played the lead role.
Daisy had rehearsed for it rigorously and she was only too glad when her performance was appreciated. “You are connected to a live audience and you get instant reaction. You don’t have to wait till Friday. It’s a great feeling,” she says.
From being a background dancer to the front of the troupe and finally the leading lady — Daisy has come a long way. She says, “The distance to cover was small but it is an awesome feeling today. When I was a dancer, I was promoted to the front row in two years. Later, I got promoted as an assistant choreographer and one day I was chosen to be Salman’s heroine. The competition has gone high and everyone is trying to prove their mark.”
Does it bother Daisy when she’s constantly referred to as Salman’s heroine? “I take that as a compliment because it’s not easy to be a Salman Khan heroine and I take it in a positive way. It doesn’t always mean that I want to do a film with a big banner. I want to work on better scripts than worry about working only with brands. I want to balance commercial and off-beat roles,” she says.
Coming back to her life as a dancer, the actress reveals, “Initially, dancing for me was just for pocket money. The dancers are paid well and you get paid on a daily basis. Eventually, when I got promoted as an assistant choreographer I was getting paid more. This was during my college days.”
When it came to planning her career ahead, Daisy had different plans. “There was a time in life when I thought if I wanted to be a dancer and the answer was yes, a choreographer, and the answer was no. I have been on that side and I saw that you have to please everyone, from the actor, to the director. It is my drawback that I am not manipulative and this trait doesn’t work in the industry. People in the industry are very manipulative. For me, I will say it if I don’t like and I don’t know how to butter people. Even Salman Khan is like that, he is very straightforward and not manipulative at all.”
Has she ever had to pay the price for being outspoken? “Once when I was an assistant choreographer, a director was constantly trying to joke with my boss. Since my boss didn’t object, he tried a sleazy joke with me. I immediately shot back and told him not to try these things with me. From that day on, he never crossed the line.”
Quiz her on what her favourite experience dancing with some of the biggest Bollywood stars has been and pat comes the answer, “I have worked most with Akshay Kumar and I have a good rapport with him. People know him to be a big prankster and I’ve shared some fun moments with him behind the camera. I’d really want to share screen space with Akshay.” Ask her if she’d like to choreograph a big star again and a solemn Daisy says no. “I have made a lot of people dance. No way I’m getting back to choreography.”
Life, she says, has been generous to her with Jai Ho and more recently with Hate Story 3, in which she was seen in a sultry new avatar. She bagged the film after Salman recommended her name to the makers. “Yes, Salman saw the potential that I could do it. I took it because the role was very complex and it wasn’t easy to play.”