I don't believe in the luck factor - Jacqueline Fernandez | Exclusive Interview

Jacqueline Fernandez is on a roll, and there is no looking back for the actress, who is busy working with the best of directors and male actors in her upcoming projects. From winning hearts with her gorgeous avatar in Kick, to getting appreciation for her double role in Roy; Jacqueline has entered the big league with great style. The birthday girl, who enters a new phase in life today as she turns 30, is quite excited about her next release, Brothers, which hits the screens this week. Despite back-to-back promotions and city tours, the actress looked radiant and calm, and admitted that although the schedule is crazy, she is loving every moment of it. We caught up with Jacqueline for a late morning chat at the Dharma office last week, where apart from discussing beauty and green tea (Yes! We couldn't stop talking about The Body Shop's Fuji Green Tea scrub), we spoke to her about films, brand endorsements, life as an actor and more.

You are one of the most sought after female actors in the industry today. How does that feel?
It’s like a blessing in disguise. Being in the Top 3 or even in the Top 10 is a huge thing, because I have worked very hard to reach where I am today. Now, it’s time to work harder and achieve many more things.

You have two back-to-back releases, with Bangistan and Brothers. How excited or nervous are you?
I don't get pressurised or feel nervous anymore. I used to, a few years back. When Aladdin and Na Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hain released, I was very nervous. But then, I realised that there is no point in feeling the pressure, because the film will eventually release and perform the way it has to. As an actor, you have done what you have to. In fact, I am very excited about these two films, as they are both different and give out a message. The very fact that I am a part of such films keeps me happy. I am a harsh critic of myself, so I learn from my mistakes, soak in the experiences and then, move on to new projects. Plus, Bangistan was more like a special appearance.

What’s your character in the film Brothers like?
Brothers is a very special film, especially because this is my first Dharma film. I didn't think this would be the kind of Dharma film that would be my debut, as my role is very different and is something that I haven’t tried before. I play Jenny Fernandez, who is the wife of David Fernandez (Akshay Kumar). In fact, I would keep telling Akshay that you guys are ankle Fernandez, and I am the asli one (laughs). Well, in the film, ours is a happy family and we have a six-year-old daughter. All of a sudden, our daughter becomes very ill and we don’t have enough many to pay for her treatment. That’s where things take a turn. You will have to watch the film to know more (smiles). Jenny is definitely one of my most challenging roles till date and Karan (Malhotra) helped me a lot with understanding my character. He is very strong and strict. He made us do a lot of retakes, until I got the emotions and expressions right in a scene.

How was it working with Akshay Kumar, after Housefull 2, although the two of you were not paired together in the film?
Yeah, Brothers is the first time I have worked opposite Akshay. I have always known and seen Akshay in comedy films, and even Housefull was like that. But in Brothers, he is all serious, which I was not used to. In most parts of the film, I am all sad and crying. Both of us are with our child and its a serious situation. But, Akshay has a great disconnect. He can be all serious and emotional in a character, and the moment you say ‘Cut’, he will be back to “Hey! Kya haal hain? Bhook lagi hain yaar.” So, that was a great learning experience for me. On days when I have heavy scenes to film, where I am all emotional and crying, thinking “Glycerin lagana hain, rona hain,” I would feel exhausted. I used to go back home with a headache and feel very heavy, drained out the entire day. The same happened even during the dubbing. But Akshay is a pro at it! He has an amazing energy and just like other superstars, he approaches every film like its his first. At least, that's the feeling that I get. He wakes up early, never gets tired, and fits in a hundred things in one single day. There is so much to learn from him.

Any memorable incident while you were shooting for the film?
Many! But we had great fun filming the climax. It was shot over a period of 50 days and all I had to do was stand in the crowd, with a placard bearing David's name. That's what I kept doing over and over again (laughs). During one shot, Akshay changed the placard and gave me the one bearing Monty's (Sidharth Malhotra) name. It took some time for me to realise that I was holding the wrong placard and ultimately, I had to get the right one and shoot the scene again. It was fun! There were these little, fun pranks that kept happening, turning the otherwise emotional atmosphere into a fun-loving, light hearted one. Its like a good relief for the entire cast and crew in between gruelling schedules.

Were you comfortable playing a mother at an early stage of your career?
Absolutely! In the end, I am an actress and in this profession, one has to show the kind of range they have got. You have to be able to tap into different kinds of roles and genres. If you keep doing the same kind of roles, over and over again, then what is the joy of being an actor? Honestly, I was thinking the same thing and was a little skeptical. Questions like - “Should I play a mother? What will happen to my career? Will this jeopardise anything? Will this set something in the audience’s perception?” - kept popping up in my mind. But, when you actually take on these roles, the beauty of it is the fact that you can show the audience your versatility. Like I play a mother in Brothers, but in Dishoom, I turn into this cool tomboy and then in Flying Jat, I turn into this fun dancer. So its fun to show different avatars of yourself in films and that’s what keeps it interesting for me as an actor. When you look at your portfolio, it feels amazing to know that one has done this, that and everything. 

You have always taken the versatile route, opting for different characters and genres. But as an actor, how easy or difficult is it for you to disconnect from one character and step into another one, almost around the same time?
Earlier, I used to think that an actor can just snap in, snap out and its not a big deal. But honestly, it is very difficult. Like in Dishoom, my character is rebellious and a complete spoilt brat. She is this girl on the run, who is extremely blunt and not afraid of anything. When I started working on Dishoom after Brothers, where I was playing a mother with a sick child, it wasn't easy. I kept telling myself - Okay! I need to get out of my old avatar and do this. Then after shooting a few days for Dishoom, I started filming Flying Jat the very next day, where I had to be all bubbly and cute (laughs). I was like, “Oh my God! I need to get out of my rebellious side and be sweet here.” So, it does take time, but the constant practice of it has helped me a lot. An actor has to act, right? They are themselves behind the camera, but the moment they hear the word ‘Action’, you need to get rid of everything and become one with your character. Also, I have been able to work with different directors, actors and step into different characters with them, which helps. 

During an earlier interview, Akshay stated that luck plays a major role, almost 65 per cent, in an actor's life. Do you believe in luck?
Nope! I believe that one has to work hard towards creating their own luck. I don't believe solely in the luck factor. I think that if one is not successful, then that person is not doing something right. The people who are in the top league have done everything to get there and a lot of hard work goes into this. One has to push themselves, sacrifice their sleep, and prove themselves to be noticed and reach on top. I personally don't believe that luck has anything to do with it.

What is it that you keep in mind before you come on board to endorse a brand or a certain range of products? For e.g you have always stood by the ethics of the brand, The Body Shop, which you are currently endorsing.
Honestly, I believe in taking things on, keeping in mind that I actually own the brand and use the product. That is extremely important, because I don't believe in selling anything to the public, which I don't use myself. So before I come on board, I always do a background research on the brand, because I am always very active with my brands. I like to get involved in activities, try things on and promote it. So, I won't promote something that I don't feel is right. With Puma, our idea of fitness matches well. The Body Shop is more than just a brand, as their products promote a lot of environmental wellbeing, and support causes like cruelty against animals, environmental awareness, community trade ingredients among others. All these things matter a lot, because its a responsibility. I don't want to be in a situation where I come to know that my brand has deceived the public. I will never represent such a brand. I will always endorse something that is known for its quality.

Tell us about the latest Fuji Green Tea range by The Body Shop, that you recently launched.  
Oh! I am loving it. I am a huge fan of green tea and I drink it everyday. So, when I was told that I can also apply it on my body, I got so excited and was like - "Yay! I have got green tea for my skincare too." (laughs)

Which projects are you currently working on?
I am working on two films. I started shooting for Dishoom in July, which stars John Abraham and Varun Dhawan. Around the same time, I also started filming Flying Jat, where I am paired opposite Tiger Shroff. Next month, I will start shooting for Housefull 3 with Akshay Kumar. So, these 3 films will keep me busy this year

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Priya Adivarekar

Priya Adivarekar - Founder and Creative Director at Diary of a Dancebee. She is also a renowned Voice Actress and award winning artiste, with serious passion for dance. When not working round the clock, she can be seen reading, enjoying a movie-binge or listening to music.
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