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
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.”