'RACE'S Ahead!

She’s sassy, classy, su­per hot… and cur­rently, rul­ing com­mer­cial cin­ema. In fact, this gor­geous ac­tor has not only de­liv­ered many hits, she’s also known as the chart­buster queen and the se­quels’ siren. Sumita Chakraborty catches up with the smokin’ hot JA

Stardust (English) - - COVER STORY -

She’s ex­tremely chirpy even though she’s laid up in bed nurs­ing a painful in­jury. Yes, this gor­geous ac­tor in­jured her­self dur­ing one of the ac­tion se­quences on the Race sets. But un­like oth­ers ac­tors, she didn’t can­cel the in­ter­view, in­stead she tack­led each ques­tion un­com­plain­ingly. Yes… that’s Jac­que­line Fer­nan­dez for you. In fact, very rarely, you’ll find this ac­tor with a sunny dis­po­si­tion frown­ing or look­ing stressed out. ..Per­haps she is, but you’ll never know as she hides it by flash­ing her bright smile at all times. And that shows the true met­tle of this ac­tor who stormed Bol­ly­wood, de­spite not be­long­ing from the in­dus­try or In­dia and so break­ing all those heavy-weight no­tions of nepotism to smithereens. Her last film Jud­waa 2 with Varun Dhawan was a su­per hit. Most of the songs that she has danced to have topped the charts. And now, she’s picked up an­other tag as the ‘se­quel queen’ by bag­ging Race 3 and Kick 2. So is Jac­que­line Fer­nan­dez the next big thing in Bol­ly­wood? Though her ca­reer graph seems to say so… let’s find out from the beau­ti­ful Jac­que­line her­self.

Jac­que­line, first of all con­grat­u­la­tions, you’ve be­come the se­quel queen. How does it feel? It is so funny that it ac­tu­ally feels like it’s my tryst with se­quels. My suc­cess with se­quels started with Mur­der 2. And post that, it is re­ally amaz­ing that I have been of­fered so many se­quels. But they have been very lucky for me I think. Hon­estly, it is quite en­cour­ag­ing when you’re a part of a se­quel – not only are they widely ap­pre­ci­ated, you can be a part of the fu­ture se­quels as well. As in the case with the Race fran­chise. So I am thrilled! You’ve be­come so suc­cess­ful com­mer­cially with a ru­n­away hit like Jud­waa2, what is the se­cret? I don’t know the se­cret but per­haps it’s be­liev­ing in what you’re do­ing. I think what also makes com­mer­cial cin­ema and com­mer­cial ac­tors suc­cess­ful is the fact that we have a lot of be­lief and con­vic­tion in the cin­ema that we are do­ing, the roles that we are play­ing and the way we are por­tray­ing it. Peo­ple have of­ten made snide com­ments that my films are ‘com­mer­cial’ films and stuff like that. But I re­ally love them. I be­lieve in them and I think they are very en­ter­tain­ing.

You’ve be­come a hit song ma­chine too… Touch­wood, I think I’ve been lucky! But ev­ery­thing that I do is dif­fer­ent and unique. Even the songs that I have cho­sen, I do then with a lot of con­vic­tion, and it has worked! And I think I do it with a lot of dis­ci­pline and pas­sion too, I think that’s what works in the process.

...and Jac­que­line has be­come the dar­ling of the na­tion. I hope so...(laughs). That’s a nice ti­tle to have!

Sal­man has said that if there is any­body who can fill the shoes of Zeenat Aman as a sex sym­bol, it is Jac­que­line. What do you have to say about it? That is per­haps one of the big­gest sur­prises, and per­haps one of the big­gest com­pli­ments from him be­cause I think he is some­one who has al­ways be­lieved in me. And I re­ally owe him a lot. Be­cause just hav­ing some­one like him be­liev­ing in you, boosts your con­fi­dence. I am priv­i­leged! It’s amaz­ing to have some­one like Sal­man Khan be­liev­ing that you can be a sex sym­bol like Zeenatji. I think she is the most beau­ti­ful ac­tor/ icon in­side out. Sal­man also re­ally ad­mires her and re­spects her. First of all, it is a huge com­pli­ment for him to give me. But more than that, I think it is a nice ges­ture from him to give me that com­pli­ment for sure.

You’re an out­sider. You don’t be­long to In­dia leave alone the in­dus­try, How did you man­age – es­pe­cially with all this talk of nepotism and all that - storm Bol­ly­wood and make it on your own? Ob­vi­ously, there were many chal­lenges. Of course,it’s a little bit dif­fi­cult to be thrust into the in­dus­try with­out know­ing any­body or any­thing about it. I needed to

Se­quels have been very lucky for me.”

work ex­tremely hard. It doesn’t come so eas­ily be­cause it is a con­tin­u­ous process. But once you prove that you are here to work and you’re a Hindi film lover and a pro­fes­sional, that’s when ob­vi­ously peo­ple start un­der­stand­ing you and that’s when you get ac­cepted. You have to put true ef­fort and prove your­self. Yes, it takes a little bit more time – yes, it’s easy for peo­ple who have a little bit of sup­port. But it’s worth it when at the end of the day, your work speaks. The au­di­ence al­ways will de­cide who they want to see and they are never par­tial to­wards any­one. So if I am ac­cepted, it’s a big win!

Do you think you need a god­fa­ther in Bol­ly­wood? You know some­one who can guide you like Karan Jo­har... Hon­estly speak­ing, it is pretty amaz­ing if you have some­one you know. I feel that it has ac­tu­ally helped a lot of peo­ple who have come into the in­dus­try and they have that sup­port and have their god­fa­thers or what­ever. I mean at the end of the day when you make your own space, you do get that val­i­da­tion too. But hav­ing some­body guid­ing you helps as the in­dus­try is very com­plex and there are a lot of things that if you prob­a­bly know be­fore­hand, you wouldn’t have made those mis­takes, or taken those de­ci­sions which you have taken. If you prob­a­bly have a se­nior who is ex­pe­ri­enced enough to know and give you ad­vice, then it is fan­tas­tic. But at the same time, I also be­lieve that if you’ve made your place your­self, it makes you a lot stronger, gives you a lot more en­ergy and makes you a much bet­ter con­tender. I’ve never had a god­fa­ther. When I came in, there were a lot of peo­ple I took ad­vice from who have shown me a lot of good­will. They’ve been around and been of fan­tas­tic sup­port to me. But at the same time, I’ve tried to do things my own way. It’s some­thing like fol­low­ing my own jour­ney and fol­low­ing my own in­stincts. Some­times you’re right and some­times, you’re wrong, but it’s fine. What mat­ters is that you just keep go­ing and that’s all that mat­ters. But it is def­i­nitely good to have some­one to show you the way. But the only thing is that you shouldn’t be­come too de­pen­dent as that leads you to down­fall.

You’ve seen your share of chal­lenges and your share of fail­ures. Does fail­ure de­mo­ti­vate you? No. For me, I just be­lieve that it is never ever too late to start over again and I think that’s just what every­one is do­ing. Like some peo­ple right now are go­ing through a bad phase, but they just got to stop and take a look around at what they do have and be pre­pared to work from scratch. Be­cause, if you ac­tu­ally do look at every­one on top – all our icons like Sal­man Khan, Shah Rukh, Amit ji and all of them - if you look into their past, all of them have gone through a lot of fail­ures and pain. But that didn’t stop them. And that’s the only rea­son that they are stand­ing. They have come out of ev­ery­thing stronger

You shouldn’t be­come too de­pen­dent as that leads you to down­fall.”

and hasn’t let fail­ure af­fect them. I get in­spired by them. And to work on some­thing, first of all, it is im­por­tant to be very, very grate­ful for what­ever you have and also that you take the lessons you learn in your stride. Like all the su­per­stars, no one has 100 per cent hits; you just have to work hard and let your work speak. How was it working with Varun Dhawan in Jud­waa2? He’s like a dar­ling. He is one of my favourite peo­ple to work with. What I like about him is that we are very sim­i­lar in think­ing. He is some­one you’d love for him to be a part of your life. He would never ever hurt some­one. Be­ing around him gives you such a clean, pure, pos­i­tive vibe and that is some­thing we com­pletely bond on. He’s very good with his work as he tack­les each scene, each time with so much en­thu­si­asm. And as a co-star, it only helps you. When some­one comes with that kind of en­ergy, it is in­fec­tious. So, Varun is hon­estly the best you can have. And I can’t wait to work with him again.

It is im­por­tant to be very, very grate­ful for what­ever you have.”

You’ve worked with Sal­man in Kick. You’re with him in Race3 and Kick2. How is it working with Sal­man? It’s like go­ing to some school (laughs). It is like be­ing in film school. He has a lot of valu­able knowl­edge and that’s like a trait I re­ally ad­mire be­cause he loves to help other peo­ple to be what they want. And any­thing that comes in the way, he solves it. He prac­ti­cally loves to find a so­lu­tion for all the prob­lems, he’s spon­ta­neous, when it comes to scenes and he can like cry and laugh, and he loves every­one else to get their dues in ev­ery sin­gle scene. Even when it comes to lines, he sees that other peo­ple get their lines as well, not only the hero­ine. But ya, he is like a school of knowl­edge. The poster of Race3 is look­ing fab­u­lous, how is it working in a multi-star­rer? It’s been a jour­ney. Com­ing back to the Race fran­chise has been like a proud mo­ment for me be­cause I was a part of Race 2. And so invit­ing me back to be a part of Race 3 now, has made me feel that I have grown in stature. Hav­ing Sal­man on board is su­perb and I am glad that I got to work with Remo and it just has an amaz­ing theme. When I was in the first one, I was so ex­cited but this time, on screen, my char­ac­ter grows, so I am truly thrilled.

They say two hero­ines in the in­dus­try can’t be best friends. But you and Sonam are such good friends. What do you have to say about it? Hon­estly, I think the me­dia cre­ates all these con­tro­ver­sies. Un­for­tu­nately, a lot of the things said are not true. We are pro­fes­sion­als who are out there, and are good with each other. For me, work is im­por­tant and I ig­nore ru­mours and me­dia hype. Of course, once you’re in­side, you re­ally see how things are and how they are for real, and some­times I feel very sad be­cause our au­di­ence, some­times, be­come pup­pets of de­cep­tion. I think it is sad be­cause a lot of times, we should be re­port­ing things like what it is. But right now, it is ac­cord­ing to the hot­ness of the news. I think ac­tors are vul­ner­a­ble so we get spo­ken about and that’s why mis­lead­ing news comes out that we are at log­ger­heads and con­spire against each other, and I think that’s wrong. It is ob­vi­ously not true.

Jac­que­line, was it dif­fi­cult fac­ing ru­mours, gos­sip and the me­dia at first? Yes, of course! It still is dif­fi­cult and I don’t think what’s de­picted is 100 per cent true too. Ob­vi­ously, we are all hu­mans. So if you put any­one in the sit­u­a­tion when they are be­ing judged by a na­tion, it’s scary! No one would like it. No one likes to be judged, but yes, every­one likes to judge. So it is ob­vi­ously not a great sit­u­a­tion to be in. Some­one who is very, very strong and is able to block a lot of things peo­ple throw at them, do not get af­fected. But some­one like my­self who is sen­si­tive, I ob­vi­ously don’t like be­ing un­der scru­tiny. For me, it is def­i­nitely not a great sit­u­a­tion to be

Be­ing around Varun gives you such a clean, pure, pos­i­tive vibe and that is some­thing we com­pletely bond on.”

in then. But it is some­thing that you do have to ac­cept.

I per­son­ally think you’re look­ing smok­ing hot in the song EkDo TeenChaar, is it go­ing to be an­other su­per hit for you? Let’s see. It was def­i­nitely a tribute and was done from a fan’s point of view. And we re­ally hope that it was just about the whole feel­ing that we con­veyed and that pretty much what it felt like. It was a tribute from a fan.

If not an ac­tor, what would Jac­que­line Fer­nan­dez be? I would be treat­ing an­i­mals for sure. They are the nicest,

Is it ‘all work and no play’ for Jac­que­line? Aren’t there any hot men around? It’s also play ac­tu­ally (laughs). But se­ri­ously, I find it dif­fi­cult to kind of com­bine the two and give time to the two. I fo­cus on work. But if you just fo­cus on work, it does bring dull­ness to you and your work be­comes quite unin­spir­ing. So I do have a lot of play time too but I al­ways end up do­ing stuff like en­gag­ing in horse rid­ing or paint­ing or read­ing. Stuff which I pretty much can do on my own any­way. My mom too flies down from Abu Dhabi as she says she never gets to see me so she has to make that ef­fort. She says, ‘You only keep working and don’t have any time for us’. So, she comes down to spend a cou­ple of days. But these are the little sac­ri­fices that you do. It is not easy but I just think you need to ask your­self what you re­ally want and how badly you want it? And that pretty much an­swers your ques­tion.

Any mes­sage for your Star­dust fans? Well, first of all, thanks for hav­ing me on Star­dust and thank you guys for be­ing such a good sup­port. What­ever love I’ve got, I hope it keeps com­ing. I hope to en­ter­tain you and in­spire you al­ways. Al­ways be happy and be good.

If you just fo­cus on work, it does bring dull­ness to you and your work be­comes quite unin­spir­ing.”

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