Jacqueline Fernandez started her Bollywood career in 2009 with director Sujoy Ghosh’s Aladin. However, it was the Salman Khan-starrer Kick (2014) that got her noticed. Now, she has her hands full with big-ticket projects. Here, the actor talks to us about her struggles in B-Town, her equation with Salman, and more.
Your career started with a series of flops, but today you are part of so many big films. How did it all happen?
It has been an interesting journey. There have been ups and downs, but that’s the beauty of it. I’m really enjoying this phase. After Kick, I’ve shot for about four movies, and I’ll be working on three more. This is all that I have ever wanted. I have always only wanted to keep working, because I’m actually the happiest when I’m working.
Does the struggle feel worth it?
It does. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t understand the meaning of any of the stuff I’m doing right now if I didn’t go through the low phase, like the times when I didn’t get any work. This [success] wouldn’t mean anything to me, had I not struggled for it.
Would you agree that the film opposite Salman gave you a second chance in Bollywood?
It was definitely a relaunch for me. I couldn’t believe it was happening when it happened. I was shocked when I got the call. I was like, “What?” I thought my career was over. But my life changed after Kick.
What is your equation with Salman like?
I feel it’s more than I could have ever imagined. For me, he definitely goes beyond being just a co-star. I think it’s a friendship that I will value for a long time, because I feel indebted to him. He’s an amazing person, and everyone knows that. At the same time, he’s always there for people.
Is it tough to survive in the industry when you enter with no connections and no knowledge of how things work?
Yes, a little bit. I’m not saying that people who have connections have it easy. But they may have it a bit easier. It actually comes down to getting the right advice. When you have the right connections, and you know the right people, you get the right advice. And when you’re a newcomer, and don’t know anyone, everyone’s giving you advice and you don’t know which one to take because you don’t know any better. I was very confused [when I entered Bollywood].
You’ve just done an international film. Will you be open to more such offers?
I want to strike a balance. I did that project last year because I had a month in between Roy and my next. It was a great experience. Watching myself act in English was a different experience. It’s like you’re a different person altogether.
Isn’t that easier for you, since English is your first language?
It is, but the funny thing was that I was goofing up my lines a lot more in English than I do in Hindi. I was like, “What? How can this happen to me?” I never forget my lines in Hindi. It’s also because I learn them over and over again… so there’s that added pressure. But I kept forgetting my lines in English. I was really lost. I had to actually focus on my accent, and make it sound more American. It’s almost like speaking an alien language because of the accent.