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Meet the fast, furious and fashionable Alisha Abdullah

Alisha Abdullah is in top gear — with a prestigious tournament coming up, and a few films under her belt. The racer and actor says life cannot get headier than this

If there’s one thing 24-year-old Alisha Abdullah would swear by in life, it is the headiness of speed. The country’s first and only bike racer is currently gearing up for the Toyota Vios Cup, which will take place in Thailand later this month. That’s not all — Abdullah is all set for the release of her debut film, Irumbu Kuthirai, as well. In the thriller, Abdullah will be seen a “psycho avatar” as she puts it in various interviews.

Alisha Abdullah
Alisha Abdullah, the country’s first female racer, says playing a psycho in her debut film is a challenge she did not see coming

Testing times
The tournament isn’t any less important for Abdullah. “I have been training really hard for it. I will compete against girls from South East Asian countries, who are far more stronger, at least physically,” she smiles.

She needn’t worry, really. Racing is in Abdullah’s genes. Her father, RA Abdullah, won bike-racing competitions at the national level. “Speed is in my blood. I developed my passion for racing by seeing my dad in action. I have been go-karting since the age of eight and won my first championship at 11,” she says.

However, Abdullah does not speak about acting in the same vein. Working in a film was no cakewalk, she admits. She says she eased through the action scenes, but found dialogue delivery quite daunting. “I took some acting classes as well,” she says.

Though Abdullah has participated in both bike and car races, her focus is now on car racing. “When you race on a bike, it’s very risky and there are higher chances of injury. Car racing is better that way. However, nothing beats the adrenaline rush of bike racing,” she says, her passion palpable.

Back to school
In a bid to promote women bikers across the country, she now plans to start a racing school for ladies. “I want to travel across India and organise racing competitions. The best amongst them will have a national level face off at the Buddh International Circuit,” she adds. She says that there is a general perception that only boys love their bikes. However, that’s not the case — many girls, emphasises Abdullah, are passionate about machines and racing.

Racing at the professional level is no mean feat, a fact Abdullah only knows too well. She says it took her years to build a body suitable for a competitive racing pro. “I can do 52 push ups in a minute. Earlier, people used to talk about me being physically weaker then men but that has stopped now. You need to be fit for your muscles to recover fast. I start preparing from a year in advance before any major competition. Training is not about losing weight, it’s more to do with
core strengthening.”

Cinema calling
Quite the fitness junkie, Abdullah never misses her gym workout and is equally particular about her gym wardrobe. “I was never too finicky about my wardrobe, but once, I was photographed at Bangkok airport in a casual T-shirt and track pants. The next day, my sartorial choices were in the papers. Then, it hit me that I had to be well dressed, too.”

Her fashionable makeover also helped this Chennai girl bag a couple of films. Irumbu Kuthirai is all set to hit the marquee by August. And there is another film, a psychological thriller on the floor. “I would love to act with South superstar Ajith. He is a good actor and biker as well,” says Abdullah.

If that’s not all, the pretty biker plans to take Bollywood hunk Sidharth Malhotra on a long drive. “He has great personality,” smiles Abdullah.

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