Alisha Abdullah is India’s fastest and first female racer, and when you hear her say, “I used to come last during my races and people made fun of me,” you find it hard to believe given her successful track record on the racing arena.
Yet, after the half an hour interview Alisha convinces us that her journey started with little steps and it was a path more difficult than one can imagine. The biker babe opens up about ruling the roost in a man’s world, her foray into acting and her immense love for animals. Alisha’s incredible sense of humour surpasses her good looks and she keeps us in splits all through the conversation.
At 22, she created history by becoming the first woman to win the VW Polo cup.
A Chennaiite, Alisha has been racing since the age of nine, however, she recalls that she was mocked at during her initial racing years. She shares, “I began riding on the road and then slowly practiced on race tracks. People used to make fun of me, but nothing stopped me and I guess it was my father’s confidence that pushed me through to achieve the impossible.”
Alisha’s father gifted her a super bike when she was 18, which gave wings to Alisha’s racing career. She shares, “It was quite a surprise and the next week my dad presented a replica of the suit of Valentino Rossi. It instilled the dream and gave me a foundation that I could survive in a man’s world if only I worked hard enough.”
Alisha finished her graduation in Sociology from MOP Vaishnav and states that she bunked classes to go to the gym to train rather than going to the movies with her friends! After that she has effortlessly won three championships. “It has been rigorous hard work I must say. When my friends went out to shop I was in the gym working out and when they were hogging on ice creams, I was busy drinking protein shakes and keeping myself fit,” recalls Alisha.
In the coming year, Alisha will be the first Indian woman to participate in the international car racing tournament set to take place in different parts of Asia.
The conversation shifts towards her upcoming acting venture. Talking about her acting debut, Alisha laughs loudly at first, and composing herself moments later, she says, “I thought it would be fun to do a movie, but I was very wrong. It takes a lot of patience and is a completely different world compared to my racing career.”
Recalling how early she landed up on the first day of shoot, she shares, “During the first day of the shoot, I was asked to be in the studio at 10 am. But when I turned up at 10 am, there was no one on the sets. Thinking that I am at the wrong venue, I called up the director (Yuvaraj Bose) and he was quite taken aback that I showed up on time,” says Alisha.
She plays Hollywood actor and stuntman Johnny Tri Nguyen’s love interest in Tamil film Irumbu Kuthirai and says it’s fun shooting with him as they share the same passion for racing. She says, “Johnny loves bikes and we have tried our hand at racing on location.”
Alisha plays her real self on screen and says, “Racing requires punctuality, but cinema requires patience. At some point, the actors take more than 10 to 12 takes and it becomes frustrating, but now I have started to appreciate films because there is so much of hard work involved that not many know of.”
This pretty lass is also a fitness freak and is currently working on a social project to help stray animals....