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Interview : Jacqueline Fernandez

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Jacqueline: Sajid is very honest and dignified

Ex-Miss Srilanka and Bollywood actress, Jacqueline Fernandez, who sizzled as Dhanno in the item song in the film HOUSEFULL, will now be seen in a full- fledged role in its sequel, HOUSEFULL 2. It may be touted that Jacqueline bagged HOUSEFULL 2 thanks to her supposed beau filmmaker Sajid Khan. However, the beautiful actress reveals that Sajid is not her mentor and she had no idea that she would become a part of such big franchise. In conversation with Jacqueline Fernandez.

Tell us about your role in HOUSEFULL 2
Basically I play a girl, who comes from joint family and we really happen to hate our joint family. My father (played by Randhir Kapoor) is trying to get me married off to someone makes for amazing groom and mostly in competition with his brother (played by Rishi Kapoor) and his family. Unfortunately we get stuck in the conflicts and end up in the same house….There is so much commotion and confusion in the house even I don’t understand and can’t really explain (laughs).

So what attracted you to HOUSEFULL 2?
I had no idea about the role. I was called for HOSUEFULL 2 to be on par with Asin, to be paired with John Abraham, work with such amazing cast. Moreover it’s Nadiadwaala’s production so you don’t even care about the script or ask for narration. It is like one of those moments that you only want to say yes to the project.

Moreover, when you know it’s the same franchise that created magic at the Box-office before so there is certain amount of assurance that you are in the good hands. And when I look at movies or offers I look for entire package. How it’s gonna present me, how it will make a difference to my career, the production house, director, amazing actors. At the moment being fairly new what really matters to me is my support in a movie.

view HOUSEFULL 2 movie stills
view HOUSEFULL 2 movie stills

You have graduated from an item song in HOUSEFULL to a full-fledged role in the sequel.
I had a small introduction in the film so I got a taste of it in HOUSEFULL with the item song. In a matter of two days I was picked on, played a prank on, pushed around and you won’t believe I was traumatized in those 2 days (giggles). Having done an item song in the first part, Sajid had mentioned to me that he would cast me in HOUSEFULL 2. But I was like in Bollywood you hear promises all the time. People just usually talk and never really commit. So it was really funny and I never believed. When I got a call from Sajid Nadiadwala I thought they are just pulling my leg. I didn’t take it seriously. But they kept their word.

Can we say you were the trigger point for HOUSEFULL 2
It would be incorrect to say that. Since HOUSEFULL did very well at Box-office and was a big success the sequel was bound to happen. It was one successful franchise that would have been continued with or without me. It’s a fun-filled family entertainer.

‘I was expecting Asin to look down on me…’

You have mostly done solo heroine projects and this is your first multi-starrer project
What’s really important is you have to think about hit value. I don’t think I am experienced enough or I have been in the industry long enough to comment that okay I can carry this movie on my own or take the onus of movie on my shoulders. It’s really important the entire team that I am working with supports me. I need experts. You want to be part of big budget movies, big banners, you want to become a part of movies that have a hit value, that will have opening, have some guarantee attached to it. At least in the beginning of your career you need it.

Sharing screen space with one person and then with many how was the change?
Usually it does pressurize you. You kind of feel the burden. But in case of HOUSEFULL 2 the environment was lighter. Everyone had a gala time. It never felt as if we’re working. There was no pressure of performing or overdoing. I think that is the up side of working with such a big cast, multi-starcast. Everything was so equally distributed. Sajid Khan also treated everyone equally, especially girls. We never felt insecure as everyone’s role was well defined…Moreover audiences like to see so many different actors coming together.

Interestingly HOUSEFULL 2 is your 3rd film with Riteish Deshmukh
Its really amazing because my first movie was with Riteish and even my second one was with him. My first item song had Riteish with me. I just joke around with him that I am stalking you Riteish (laughs). I was really glad that Riteish also became a part of this film, even though I am not paired opposite him this time. He was the only one whom I knew on the sets. It was like having a buddy there.

How was it working with co-star John Abraham with whom you are paired in the film
Besides HOUSEFULL 2, I am also working with John in RACE 2. John is very chilled out and has intelligent sense of humor. He is very intelligent, book smart, savvy.

CHECK OUT: Asin- Zarine, Jacqueline & Shazahn are sweet and down-to-earth

And about your equation with other female co-stars in the film?
It was amazing, very good. Surprisingly, I didn’t expect that either, especially with Asin. I quite knew Shazahn and Zarine as we would meet each other and get along well. I didn’t expect Asin to be what I saw and what I have seen now because she is superstar down south and has done only huge hits in her career. I was expecting someone who would look down on me a little bit but I didn’t get those vibes at all from her. On the contrary she was very professional, kind and sweet to me. In fact my first shot was with Asin where we were to pull each other’s hair and slap and address each other with weird names. I really didn’t know how well she would take it. I haven’t worked with a superstar actress before. So I kept wondering am I allowed to touch her or am I allowed to talk to her like that. But to my surprise she was really cool and the sweetest person. We were laughing all the time.

What is the difference between Sajid as a director and Sajid as a person?
There’s no difference at all. What you see is what you get with him. From day one everything from my role to the character to the script has been black and white for him. He is very honest and that way he is very dignified. There’s never another side to him. There’s always real him.

Does he advise you on the kind of films you do?
No he never does that. For me it’s very important that I make my own decisions. Despite not being from the industry and being a complete outsider it’s easy for me to make mistakes as I don’t know how the industry functions, how people work and how things work here. So it’s important you make your own mistakes learn from them rather than rely on someone else’s decision.

You think Sajid is your mentor
I don’t really have a mentor. I just have myself. I never had one and will never have any.

You started off with comedies and then you changed your image with MURDER 2 and now you are back with full-on entertainer HOUSEFULL 2
It’s really important for actors and actresses to keep on experimenting in a specific line of industry. Today it’s important to add some shock value to whatever you do may be in terms of movies or roles. The audience easily gets bored so you have to keep on innovating, experimenting and keep them guessing. MURDER 2 was something that was out of my comfort zone and something I was very really hesitant about. I didn’t know how it would be taken or how people back home would take it. But at the same time I thought you kind of got to do what you can to be different. A movie is a movie at the end of the day you are performing something…so I took a chance.

‘I have a much deeper rooted relationship with Mukesh Bhatt…’

After MURDER 2 release producer Mukesh Bhatt had said that you are on remote control. What you have to say on this?
Unfortunately I was signed for RAAZ 3 before even MURDER 2 released. And nothing about RAAZ 3 was discussed because we were really busy with MURDER 2. But the minute we started talking about the character, the role, narration we weren’t seeing eye-to-eye. We weren’t agreeing on various things and the last thing you want to do is to go into a movie feeling uncomfortable. It was very mutual actually. Mukesh Bhatt is also one such chilled-out person who’d say if you cannot do you got to tell me, it’s absolutely fine we can go ahead and find someone else… If there’s something I am gonna have issues with may be in the middle of the movie or towards the end or in the beginning then what’s the point on working when we are not even 100% about it. Having said that we had an amazing time during MURDER 2. No matter what he said in the media, I know he is someone who I can always bump into and meet & greet casually. I owe him a lot for giving me MURDER 2. It was my biggest hit ever and it opened many doors for me so I will never hold any grudge against him.

Mukesh Bhatt is the most honest person and whatever he told I am not affected by it. I have a much deeper rooted relationship and understanding with Mukesh Bhatt. So obviously people wouldn’t understand. We have parted ways on RAAZ 3 but that doesn’t mean we have ended our relationship.

view HOUSEFULL 2 videos

MURDER 2, HOUSEFULL 2, RACE 2, TOTAL DHAMAAL – You seem to be fascinated towards sequels?
It’s the time for sequels. People have tuned into the fact that when you have great brands you have to kind of take advantage of it. And all the movies offered to me last year were sequels. They are the easiest and safest thing to go with. It’s good to be part of the franchise.

‘Nothing speaks better than a hit film for an actor…’

But you were part of none of the prequels, so what made you take up sequels?
Who wouldn’t love to become a part of a Brand and explore it? They are more likely to do well and ensure opening and returns.

You were approached for KRRISH 3. So what happened with that?
Yes I was approached and even signed for the movie. It was my bad luck that at that time I just couldn’t handle dates. KRRISH 3 being an international franchise had an international crew coming down. Even HOUSEFULL 2 and RAAZ 3 had international crew coming down. So it was like all the parties coming together and a huge clash of dates. The dates could not be resolved and because of prior commitments I unfortunately had to leave KRRISH 3.

Reports were rife that you turned down the film because of a kissing scene?
I don’t know how it came up. This is something which was uncalled for. I had the full narration before singing on the film. KRRISH 3 is an amazing, beautiful film. It’s a beautiful role and a family film. So there was nothing that could put me off.

In fact, even for RAAZ 3 it was reported that you left the film as you had some conflicts with the clothing part
Its really annoying to hear all this. I think media has latched on to a story. And they have just weaved their own imagination. They just kind of link it everything that happens in my life. No one seems to get into the root cause may be because it seems to be too normal and not sensational enough. It seems to be haunting me and I am hoping things will just move on. And it will because nothing speaks better than a hit film for an actor. Once the audience accepts you it doesn’t matter what stories are being written about you.


Being in the big league means big controversies how do you deal with it?
Well I think your personal life should be not shared with the whole world. And for me whatever I do is publicized by media. Yes, the controversies were larger than life last year. I didn’t know why I was picked on. The minute I react and comment on the controversies would lead to another thing and another thing…. So it was really hurting. Whether I comment or don’t things were just coming up one after other. I felt sorry for my parents as they didn’t understand what was happening around. They are like pretty simple people. However, eventually I was prepared thinking it’s not alone me who is getting targeted. It happens with everyone in the industry. Even the biggest of the stars are not sparred. And they have to go through this all the time.

You being a beauty pageant winner do you think beauty pageants are ticket to Bollywood?
It definitely gets you on a platform. I remember when I came down to India what helped me a lot was the Miss Srilanka tag. It definitely does help you to an extent when you go places. But it does not necessarily mean that by being a pageant winner or being part of the pageant will fetch you films easily. There have been times when I got rejected. Possessing some kind of title didn’t help me stand out or get noticed.

Is it true you have been approached for Hollywood project DEFINITION OF FEAR?
Yes I have been approached for that. The talks are still on however nothing has been finalized yet. I haven’t explored the international side of cinema yet.

You are also doing a cameo in a Sri Lankan film
Its really cool because I always had lot of support from Sri Lanka. People there have been really nice and very supportive about my moving here. There are major Bollywood fans in Sri Lanka. For them to see a fellow Sri Lankan in the movies they are watching is a big achievement. Right now our country is really shaping up. Our Film industry is opening up so I kind of want to show my support there or be a part of it in some way. It’s fun going back.

Do you still get nervous in front of the camera?
Yes. I am still not at ease or as confident to face the camera.

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