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'The Deols treat you like family'

With her fair skin, brown eyes and jet-black hair, 25-year-old model-actor Kristina Akheeva could easily pass off as a Punjabi or Rajasthani gal. This Aussie girl, who has bagged a role in the sequel of Yamla Pagla Deewana, talks to HitList about Bollywood, family and dancing...

Kristina Akheeva

This is your first Bollywood film. Are you excited or nervous?
I am heading to the UK in the second week of September. I went to a film and television school in Australia, so I have some basic training in acting. But that was way back in 2006. I hope that my spontaneity works some magic on the sets (giggles).

How is your initial experience with the Deols?
Fantastic! They treat you like a family member and make you feel relaxed and nice. I am paired opposite Sunny Deol in the film. Though people feel that there’s a considerable age difference between us (Sunny is 55), I am not bothered about it. I feel that I can learn a lot from him since he’s such a veteran and powerful performer.

Have you been sharpening your skills in Hindi?
I spent a year in India in 2010 modelling. I know enough Hindi to get by in day-to-day life. However, I am working hard at my conversational Hindi.

Describe your first tryst with India and Bollywood?
In 2007, I went backpacking across Asian countries. I visited the Far East, India and Nepal. One of the things on my travel list was watching a Bollywood film. So, I watched a Hindi film Om Shanti Om. I was bowled over by the colour, dance and music in the film. And SRK… he was simply fab!

How has your family reacted to your foray in Bollywood?
They are very excited. I spent two months with my parents in Australia and showed them a few Bollywood films. When they saw the heroines dancing they said, “Kristina, you could easily do that!” I am a trained salsa and ballroom dancer. My mom had also seen Bollywood films in Russia.

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