Karishma Upadhyay/The New Indian Express
Jacqueline Fernandez is having quite a summer. It started with Housefull 3, the franchise she’s been a part of since its inception. She followed it up with the cop film Dishoom with John Abraham and Varun Dhawan. And, now she has A Flying Jatt, directed by Remo d’Souza, along with Tiger Shroff in theatres.
Somewhere in between all this, she flew to Miami to shoot an untitled action-comedy with Siddharth Malhotra. Jacqueline has also joined Karan Johar and choreographer Ganesh Hegde on the judges’ panel of the dance show, Jhalak Dikhla Jaa.
“It’s been so crazy and I am loving every minute of it,” she exclaims, adding, “This has been a special year. I have had three releases in three months. I am happy with where I am professionally. I am doing the kind of work I want to do. I am so grateful for the opportunities that are coming my way. I am growing with each film,” she says.
The actor insists that being a part of the superhero film reminds her a lot of her debut film.
“I played Jasmine in Aladin and there is something magical about A Flying Jatt as well. They are both fantasies. I didn’t think I would get to do an ‘other’ world film again. A Flying Jatt is a very different type of a superhero story that’s never been told.”
It’s been about seven years since the 31-year-old made a not-so-successful debut. Aladin bombed at the box office and didn’t find any favor with critics either.
“After that, I had a couple of really difficult years. I was barely managing one film a year till Murder 2, Race 2 and Housefull 2 gave me the much-needed boost.”
It was the Salman Khan-starrer Kick that truly turned the proverbial tide for the former Sri Lankan beauty queen.
“Kick came to me at a point in my career when it was most needed. When I was first told I was going to be in the film, I couldn’t believe it. I really thought someone was playing a cruel prank,” she recalls with a laugh.
“Imagine working with someone like Salman Khan, solo heroine film, big production house that too at a time when I felt may be my career wasn’t doing well. I couldn’t have been the obvious choice for a film that big! I wasn’t an A-list actress. Kick coming my way made me believe in destiny again. The film was fated for me,” she says.
The actor has come a long way from the initial years when she was still trying to find her way around in Bollywood.
“I remember in the beginning, I was so clueless. I didn’t know how things worked here. I didn’t even know who were the right people to meet. I didn’t have anyone to guide me so it took some time for me to figure my way around.”
Seven years in Bollywood has taught the actress quite a bit.
“There is no substitute for hard work. But more than anything else, I have learnt to do things that make me happy and not be pressured into doing things that I don’t want to do. In a career that’s as uncertain as mine, it’s easy to ‘yes’, but it’s very tough to say ‘no’. You have to believe that refusing a project is not the end of your career. When things aren’t going well, it’s easy to grab every opportunity that comes your way and that’s not always a good idea. You have to believe in yourself.”
Jacqueline has now been a part of films that have raked in over Rupees 100 crore (Rs One billion) at the box office, but the actress admits that she still needs to hone her skills.
“I am pushing myself with every film. I think I am ready to start experimenting and challenge myself with roles that take me out of my comfort zone.”