With just two movies, he’s stitched his position in Bollywood’s hot hunks club with a massive fe ...
Issue: April 2014
Reaching for the stars - Jacqueline Fernandez
Jacqueline Fernandez is enjoying some heavy-duty spotlight. Not only has she bagged a film opposite Salman Khan, she’ll soon also be seen in a double role with Ranbir Kapoor and Arjun Rampal. The Sri Lankan stunner opens up to Farhad J Dadyburjor about being single again, the sex appeal of Salman Khan and the one time she saw her life flash before her eyes.
While in one era all affairs in Bollywood were termed as ‘just good friends’, nowadays all relationships have the precursive of ‘alleged’. So, ask Jacqueline Fernandez about her ‘alleged break-up’ with director Sajid Khan, and she laughs a bit. “Yes, now I am single. So much has happened in the last one year...in fact the last time we shot for the Valentine’s issue (of Hi! Blitz) that was when all of that was going on,” she says, noting the irony. Ask her if they are still in touch, and Jacqueline says, “We are. There are certain people who will always remain special in your life. And I don’t like making enemies—I think it’s always better to clear things out.”
In an industry where relationships seem to be as much of a gamble as a film at the box-office, what does she think really binds two people together? “Oh I wish I knew. I think people often rush into things—they don’t understand the seriousness of a relationship, they don’t understand that it’s a lot of work. And we are all humans—we all make mistakes! But we have such strict rules when it comes to relationships that it’s so difficult to keep up,” says Jacqueline. “Right now the divorce rate is so high that you really should be sure before settling down. Because why go through a divorce, why rush into something if it might end up in a divorce. I don’t think you should compromise on anything just because you have to get married by a certain age or something like that.”
While she’s certainly been Sri Lanka’s hottest export, we’re sure the southern beauty has a queue of men waiting outside her door. Has she been dating anyone special? “Hmm...” she pauses wide-eyed, then bursts out laughing. “No, not at all. My social life is so embarrassing as of now that my friends make fun of me. But the thing is I feel I have been really blessed right now and am extremely lucky with the work that I’m doing. This is like almost a relaunch for me. So I want to give it my all and don’t want to lose focus. Since I came here, I was kind of taking it easy, and it was only since last year that I started hitting the panic button. This is the movie industry—it’s something that can be taken away from you in a second.”
Well, that’s not about to happen anytime soon. Not only is Jacqueline starring opposite Salman Khan in the much-awaited blockbuster Kick, she’s also doing a double role with Ranbir Kapoor and Arjun Rampal in Roy. It doesn’t get bigger and better than that! “It just happened all of a sudden. Roy was there since last year and when it was offered to me, it sounded almost too good to be true, but nothing was solidifying so I wasn’t getting my hopes up too high. Then in June last year, I was offered Kick and that was an even bigger shock because I thought there was already an actress signed on for it...and I didn’t believe it till I actually signed the contract,” she laughs. “Honestly, Salman Khan was the one actor I always wanted to work with and I was a huge fan of his. I knew him since the time I came to India but it just seemed so far-fetched an idea to be able to actually do a movie with him.
“He’s someone who is all for hard work and I can tell that he has a lot of respect for people who have struggled and come a long way. He used to always tell me one thing: ‘Jackie set yourself goals, focus and keep your priorities in mind’. And he always praises people who he feels have worked hard, and I think he inspires himself through these people and also uses them as an example to others.”
While Jacqueline can’t stop gushing about her mentor, she does admit she was intimidated working with him. “Oh my god, all the time...all the time! Even though he’s such a cool guy and so much fun, for me it was just like, ‘I’m doing a scene with Salman Khan!’ He’s a very giving actor. He’ll help you with your scenes, help you with your lines...he just really loves what he does. He loves being an actor, loves Hindi films and really puts in a lot of effort. I never thought that would happen with a superstar.”
Of course, it’s a no-brainer to ask her who she thinks is the hottest hunk in the industry. “Salman, of course! Before working with him, after working him,” she laughs hysterically. “He has a lot of sex appeal and he’s really good-looking—he can give anyone a complex, even girls.”
Whilst admitting that her greatest hurdle as an actor has been overcoming the language barrier, Jacqueline says she’s getting better at it. “My Hindi has improved a lot and I’ve gotten over the initial awkwardness of it; the only thing I feel is that sometimes I can’t be spontaneous because the language is not my mother tongue. So I’m not so fluent in it with my acting, as I am in English. And I think that kind of hinders me in a way. Also, with acting, a lot of people say it’s natural but I think it is one of those things that come with experience as well, where you just have to be so used to having that camera in front of you that you become a natural. That’s why so many actors make their big breakthrough only after their tenth movie.”
A total social media junkie, Jacqueline loves to read everything and anything written about her on her Twitter and Instagram accounts. “I’m not someone who shies away from that—I want to know what’s being written about me. I like to get feedback, I think that’s important. Because if you live in ignorance, you’re not going to know how to better yourself,” she reasons.
And yes, like everyone else she has had to face the occasional troll. “I know that there can be a lot of negativity on social media, a lot of people have faced it and that’s why some even leave it because they can’t take it anymore. And I can imagine why. Because out of the hundred nice things that people say about you, there will be this one pr*ck who is going to write something really mean—and you’re not going to forget that.”
Whenever she gets some downtime, she loves to travel—whether to her hometown of Sri Lanka (where she’s bought an island and a tea plantation) or Paris (“the most romantic city in the world”); she enjoys nothing more than pumping up some adrenaline with adventure sports like deep sea diving and climbing volcanic mountains. “I remember this one time that was really scary...I did a bungee jump in Macau, which was 80 storeys high, and that was the first time I had ever bungee jumped! It was the tallest one and I was like I have to do the tallest,” she laughs, recalling the incident. “And I think it was the most scared I’ve ever been in my life. When you jump, you realise that it’s just a string attached to your legs...I mean, how idiotic can you be?! And the kind of panic you feel, you see your whole life flashing before you. You only get calm when you start reaching towards the ground. But for the first few seconds, oh my god!” says Jacqueline, pausing. “...But you know what, I’d do it again,” she quips, laughing.
Read more in the April 2014 issue of Hi! BLITZ – the no.1 Lifestyle magazine.
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