While the older generations might have their Madhubala's and Madhuri's, these days the true litmus test of an actress's broader youth-culture currency is not whether she's commonly referred to by her first name only. She can now be referred to as Fernandez. Jacqueline Fernandez. The over stimulated, provocation-weary, movie-going public can breathe easy, actually not. I mean, if you see the latest posters of Murder 2, you'd be sweating! She isn't some sex-crazed tabloid vixen but more Fernandez Jacqueline than the Jacqueline Fernandez you've known since a couple of years. From her attractive and impressive debut in Aladin to the recent Murder 2, Jacqueline's meteoric rise has itself become a cinematic affair - whirlwind of award shows, sexy dresses, long hair, paparazzi, link-ups with co-stars and self-effacing Sri-Lankan charm that's a rarity in today's Bollywood. But Jacqueline's big banner films and working with big A-list actors isn't the only reason why many are finding great solace in her emergence as one of the most important young actresses. It's what her success represents: the triumph of talent, a celebration of difference, and a small victory for a young woman who sounds believable when she says she's in it for the roles and not the acclaim. So when I met the newly toned Jacqueline at Vishesh Film's office in Khar, I didn't just get stumped, I got sweaty. She's back, she's a hottie, and she's Jacqueline! But just as I was about to finish my tete-a-tete, the producer Mukesh Bhatt peeps in to check in and I ask him to define Fernandez. He says, "She isn't beautiful, her soul is." That kinda sums it up, innit? It does, in this Part 1 exclusive.
"I've learnt something that patience is the key in Bollywood"
The sabbatical was not by choice, to be very honest. Last year, I wasn't getting good offers. I wasn't getting good roles. I've strongly believed that if I don't agree with the movie and my role, there is no way I'm going to jump into it or sign out of desperation. That's why after Jaane Kahaan Se Aayi Hai, I wasn't visible. I've learnt something that patience is the key over here because it was towards the end of the year that Mukesh sir offered me Murder 2. Soon after that, more interesting offers started to come in.
"I can now think about the films I want to do and then say No"
I feel now I have more liberty to say 'No' but there were roles that I would consider. Last year there were roles being offered and I'd say that I didn't even want to meet that person (laughs). Now I question myself, 'Shall I do it?' I can think about my roles and films more and analyse them. Now I feel I have the kind of freedom to do that.
"When I was offered Murder 2, Mukesh sir and I almost signed the deal there and then"
Of course I would do a small budget film. The thing is, obviously you need to know what works for you. The great thing for an actor to take on movies is to show their performance. There is no formula. Just because you are a part of a big budget film doesn't mean the film will be a hit. When the movies flop, the actors are always to blame. The producers and directors keep saying, 'Don't sign her' and all. I usually go with my gut instinct. When I was offered Murder 2, Mukesh sir and I almost signed the deal there and then. I went to meet him because I thought he was bringing up his shelved film for which I had met him a few months ago but to my surprise, the film was Murder 2.
"The posters of Murder 2 are quite exotic and artistic"
What I feel about the posters is that they don't look 'cheap'. They look rather artistic. But a lot of kudos to Mohit Suri, to the Bhatt camp and Emraan Hashmi. They are such a wonderful bunch to work with. I've never loved Goa so much. They take everyone's opinion into consideration. Emraan too suggested a lot of layouts. I was way too pampered on the sets and it was fantastic. Bhatt camp is very true to the movies they make.
"I never get films just because I am a foreigner"
Let's look at Hollywood. You have two of the highest paid actresses from different countries, Nicole Kidman from Australia and Penelope Cruz from Spain. There is always a sense of mystery when you have a foreign actress because your own country isn't used to their mischief and attitude. There is something different that's brought to the table. Out here too we have it. The West likes to see darker or exotic looking girls. Over here we do want to see a little bit foreign sometimes but you will never get cast just because you are a foreigner. I was losing out to roles like Deepika, Sonam, etc. Basically a filmmaker will always cast you based on how relevant you are for the role; race and colour doesn't come into consideration.
Watch this space for Part 2 of interview with Jacqueline Fernandez
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