She claims Bollywood has taught her two things – to smile through it all and not to feel apologetic to say NO! Jacqueline Fernandez shares her journey with Shubarna Mukerji Shu.
City tours for umpteen promotions and loads of Snap-chat and Insta-updates with the fun crew of HOUSEFULL 3, tell you that Jacqueline Fernandez has no time to breathe. She does still make it a point to flash a bright smile and take on one more interview and give you something that is different. That’s her chutzpah as an actress, and as a person, and that’s what we applaud.
Has it seeped in yet, you are no longer an import, you belong to Bollywood!
I am in a great place today – multiple films, great actors to work with, good directors …And my people, my fans… the janta have actually seen me through my journey. They have been part of it; that in itself has been the most important aspect of helping me belong here. It is a universal thing – people might like you, people might not but if they see you are working hard they will accept you, respect you. People here have watched me grow into who I am today, that’s why their acceptance, their appreciation is all the more special to me.
This acceptance becomes absolutely tangible when I go on tours to promote films. Funny, before when I used to go on tours, talkshows and make appearances I never really knew what to say, I didn’t know how I would fit into the whole thing. Today I feel people are more familiar with me, I feel comfortable; the audience feels more comfortable with me too. It is obvious that they are making me feel at home.
In this journey of being home… which have been your most momentous landmarks?
When it comes to landmarks, for me it would have to be KICK. That film came at a point in my career when it was most needed. I mean, for me it was like a dream. Imagine working with someone like Salman Khan, solo heroine film, big production house that too at a time when I felt maybe my career wasn’t doing pretty well. Like I said, I needed a film like that to change the game. For me, it was not an obvious film to get; I was not an A-list superstar who just happened to be signing a film with Salman Khan. I was literally struggling to keep my head above the water and KICK came along. I don’t know if you could call it luck – it was a good mix of luck, a lot of hardwork that I had done through the year and some fantastic timing! These are the stuff that make destiny stories… it is my destiny story for sure!
While KICK certainly did you good, you cannot undermine your own efforts that went into it… While dealing with the downs in your life, what did you discover has been your greatest strength?
A lot many things help you realise your strength, and I tell you it is something of an irony that your moment of weakness is where you learn your greatest strengths. The times when you feel like you can never overcome a certain phase, a feeling, a hurdle of some sort… when you feel that there is no way that you can fight this… those are the times when I have actually figured my strengths. Be it not knowing the language, be it times when I have been attacked by the media, be the times when I have been surrounded by negativity coming out of those things… really helped me get where I am today. A never-say-die attitude is perhaps my strength.
I remember back in the very beginning I was so thoroughly clueless, I didn’t know how to go about things in this place. I frankly didn’t know what I was supposed to be doing, who I was supposed to be meeting. I wouldn’t know if I was meeting a faltu director or a faltu producer… or was I meeting someone genuine? Someone would tell me that he has made the biggest blockbuster of Indian cinema and I would believe him at that time. When there are so many people in your ear all the time, you do not which way to go, who to believe. It is not like you have someone in your family from the industry, there is no one out here who you can properly trust in this industry because, frankly, everyone has their own agendas.
Truth being there is a hell of a difference in the way a family will guide you, and how some outsider will, be it a friend or an acquaintance… I think I have learnt to be mature out here. Make my decisions, grow up!