Hitting the right spot

Source : Indian express

EVERY time there was a setback, I bounced back. I never gave up. The film industry can be very demanding and one needs to be strong to handle it,” says actor Jacqueline Fernandez. Ahead of the release of her film ,

A Gentleman, next week, the model-turned-actor from Sri Lanka speaks about her efforts to improve her craft and the struggle to excel. “Every movie pushes you to explore the actor in you. It depends on how much effort one is willing to put into it,” she says.

The winner of the Miss Sri Lanka Universe pageant in 2006 had a relatively easy entry into the world of Hindi cinema. She was picked up for the role of Jasmin in Sujoy Ghosh-directed Aladin (2009) while modelling in Mumbai. The next couple of years, however, were trying. “It is interesting that my debut happened when I was not trying very hard. After that, nothing was working out for me for the next couple of years,” she says. It is success of Murder 2 (2011), followed by Salman Khan-starrer Kick (2014), that served as a proverbial wake-up call. “After their success, I wondered how am I contributing to my projects. I realised, I should not take all the opportunities I am getting for granted. I also did not wish to let down those who appreciate my work,” says the actor, who will be seen next as the thrill-seeking Kavya in A Gentleman, directed by Krishna DK and Raj Nidimoru.

When we meet Fernandez at Mumbai’s Mehboob Studio, the scheduled interviews were delayed by her hair styling and make-up by an hour. She walks in with a half-eaten apple in hand. Without bothering to finish it, she starts the interview, holding the apple all through it. The actor says she is excited to be part of A Gentleman, which releases on August 25. “I am the biggest fan of Raj and DK. I could not wait to start working with them. This movie is a fun action-comedy and there is a lot of quirkiness in it like the directors’ other movies,” she say. The duo has made movies such as Shor in the City (2010) and Go Goa Gone (2013).

The 32-year-old — who has wowed the audience with her pole dancing skills in A Gentleman’s peppy track O Chandralekha — is excited by the action sequences she has shot for the film. “For the first time, I am handling a gun and firing from it,” adds the actor, who also did action scenes in Race 2 (2013). While this was fun, the actor admits to have worked a lot harder than before. “One has to put in a lot of effort to keep growing.”

In the recent years, Fernandez has made it point to work on herself in between her movies. “I try to do as many workshops and courses as I can. One has to continuously train oneself with the help of workshops, teachers and coaches. It is a never ending process,” she says. She has been working on her diction ever since she made Mumbai her home. Of late, she has been training with acting coaches and reading a lot of acting-related books. “I never realised the need for it earlier. Today, I do more than ever. I want to study acting; it is a skill. Right now, I am also keen to understand the world of movies,” she says and hopes that the audience would notice and appreciate her efforts.

Fernandez, whose father is Sri Lankan and mother Malaysian, spent her early years in Bahrain, Australia and Sri Lanka. This, she believes, has improved her understanding of different cultures. “I make friends easily,” she says. Yet, she claims to be “gullible” during her initial years in the industry. The bigger struggle was to prove her worth. “Earlier, I did not understand a lot of things about acting, India and the industry. Once I did that, I started working in the right direction. What has helped me is having the right attitude and understanding my strengths,” says the actor, who has Judwaa 2, Drive and Dancing Dad in her kitty.

Till now, Fernandez has taken up roles she was confident of. Now, she is willing to take “risks”. “I wish to do certain roles that might surprise the audience and myself,” she says.