Anokhi Today / ANOKHI TODAY: Special Report: One-On-One With Jacqueline Fernandez

ANOKHI TODAY: Special Report: One-On-One With Jacqueline Fernandez

Anokhi Today Aug 28, 2017

In a one-on-one with Jacqueline Fernandez, the Bollywood superstar opens up about her career and her sexy, silly, action-packed new film, A Gentleman

Having last shared the screen in 2015’s BrothersJacqueline Fernandez and Sidharth Malhotra reunite for the slam-bang action rom com A Gentleman. It’s the story of Gaurav, an average chap living in Miami who’s eager to convince his gal, Kavya, to get hitched and settle down. But Kavya craves adventure, something Gaurav just can’t provide — until a business trip to Mumbai and a case of mistaken identity lands them both in the middle of a madcap spy caper.

Recently, we got a chance to chat with the thoughtful, thoroughly disarming Fernandez. Among other things, we discussed what it’s like filming a Bollywood blockbuster in Miami, why she asked the film’s directors to give her character a pole dancing scene (before realizing that pole dancing is really, really hard), and her ambition to take on “riskier” roles.

One-On-One With Jacqueline Fernandez
One-On-One With Jacqueline Fernandez: Gaurav (Sidharth Malhotra) and Kavya (Jacqueline Fernandez) pause to lock lips amidst a globe-spanning spy adventure. Photo Credit: Fox Star Studios

 

Matthew Currie: What kind of cinematic experience are we in for here?

Jacqueline Fernandez: A Gentleman is definitely an all-out action comedy. It’s a really fun film, and it’s got a really, really awesome, very New Age kind of humour to it. Because it’s been directed by Raj [Nidimoru] and [Krishna] D.K. Their humour and their style and aesthetic are really kind of urban and fun and new and contemporary. It’s one of those films you can have a great time watching and a great laugh. There’s a little bit of romance as well. So, yeah. I think it’s definitely a film that I would go watch. [Laughs]

MC: When you read the script, what was it about your character, Kavya, that leapt out at you?

JF: The minute they told me about the character, I was like, “Wow, she pretty much sounds exactly like me.” [Laughs] Except the fact that she works in an office from 9:00 to 5:00. But she’s just someone who’s really adventurous. She’s really outgoing, super independent. She knows what she wants. I just fell in love with her. I thought she was cool and funny, and she just gets herself in this situation that’s kind of a joy ride and a rollercoaster.

 

One-On-One With Jacqueline Fernandez
One-On-One With Jacqueline Fernandez: Sidharth Malhotra and Jacqueline Fernandez sing and dance on the sands of Miami. Photo Credit: Fox Star Studios

MC: Would you say this film pushed you to a new place as an actor?

JF: Absolutely. I’ve actually worked in the past on very, very big commercial films that were very typically commercial — especially films like Houseful and the Race franchise. There’s a certain kind of style that goes along with those films and with the performances and the roles and what those roles entail. And with this film, with Raj and D.K., it was a very different experience because I had to completely change my style of acting. I had to tone things down a lot, and it’s not something I was used to. But they were great that way. And I’m really glad they pushed me to that limit because, when I see the film now, it just works so well. It’s something different for me. It’s something so different for the audience to see from me.

MC: How fun was it filming in Miami?

JF: I was so excited. That might have been my number 4 or 5 thing on my list of why I wanted to do this film. [Laughs] I was like, “Yay! I want to go there.” Miami was a lot of fun. It was hard work as well because the days are quite long in that part of the world. So that means outdoors, you have to work longer. You start earlier; you end later.

[But] we were still able to find a lot of time to not only train but also go out and enjoy Miami culture. And that meant the pubs, the clubs and the craziness of the city. And that’s actually where the idea of pole dancing came into our film. We thought, “We’ve got a song to shoot, and it’s going to be an office song, and what people do post-office? If you live in Miami, what would you do?” So we kind of incorporated pole into it just to kind of get that Miami vibe.

 

One-On-One With Jacqueline Fernandez
One-On-One With Jacqueline Fernandez: Learning to rock the pole was no small feat for Jacqueline Fernandez. Photo Credit: Fox Star Studios

MC: Speaking of the pole dancing, I hear that was a new skill you had to acquire.

JF: Honestly speaking, I kind of felt like slapping myself after giving [the directors] the idea of doing pole and then taking my first pole class and going, “Oh, my God. Wait a minute. I’m so not very grateful for this right now.” Because I was like this big lump trying to hang on for dear life to this pole when I first started. Luckily, I gave myself two months to train. I didn’t think it would take me that long, but by the second month, I was still struggling. That stuff was shot with me on a lot of painkillers because my body still hadn’t adjusted to the stress of working on the pole. But I was just glad that we were able to do something different. And I was glad I was given this opportunity to do something different for myself. Now I pretty much know how to do pole, and I’ve integrated it into part of my fitness. And that’s great. I love it when you can come away with something new from every film.

MC: So you continue to use it, even now?

JF: Yes. It’s a major fitness regime. It requires a lot of strength, and it keeps you really, really fit. For a lot of these girls, I think people really misinterpret what it means to be a pole dancer because these girls are super athletic and very, very strong. And it doesn’t have to be exotic or erotic all the time. It’s actually quite artistic. So it’s great that I was able to kind of open the door for that perception to change in a small way.

 

One-On-One With Jacqueline Fernandez
One-On-One With Jacqueline Fernandez: Sidharth Malhotra unleashes a distinctly ungentlemanly side of his character. Photo Credit: Fox Star Studios

 

MC: This film brings you back together with Sidharth. What’s he like as an acting partner?

JF: So I worked with him in Brothers, where I actually played his sister-in-law. We always joke about that because it’s like, “Oh, my god. We’ve gone from sister-in-law/brother-in-law to, like, lovers. That’s kinda gross.” [Laughs] It’s great. When I did Brothers with him, I was like, “Oh, man! This really popular, good-looking, great, cool actor — and I play his sister-in-law? Nooo!”

During the promotion for Brothers, we found out we’d be doing A Gentleman together, and I was really excited about that. We have a great working relationship. We know each other from before. And that always helps. We have a great energy and chemistry people seem to be enjoying. So, yeah, I hope he says all these good things about me!

 

One-On-One With Jacqueline Fernandez
One-On-One With Jacqueline Fernandez: After playing in-laws in Brothers, Jacqueline Fernandez and Sidharth Malhotra share their first on-screen romance. Photo Credit: Fox Star Studios

 

MC: Looking back on your career, would you say making the transition into acting was a challenge?

JF: Yeah. I mean it took me quite a few years to — first of all — just understand and get used to this world of acting in film because I come from a completely different background. I grew up in the Middle East. We didn’t even have theatre there. And desiring to be something in the entertainment industry was really kind of alien to a lot of people. It was taboo to even try to talk about it or even think about it. So it took a couple of years to even allow myself the idea of me being this actor right now, that this is what I want to do and it’s okay that I’m doing it.

And then, of course, because I had no professional and technical training, that as well took some time to adjust to everything and learn from scratch. It has been a bit of a rushed kind of journey, but it has been amazing now with the things I’ve learned. I think I can move on to a little bit more dangerous, riskier stuff in terms of my roles.

 

One-On-One With Jacqueline Fernandez
One-On-One With Jacqueline Fernandez: Sidharth Malhotra, Jacqueline Fernandez et al. make the most of the Miami nightlife. Photo Credit: Fox Star Studios

 

MC: You’ve been in a string of massively successful pictures. Has the inevitable fame that follows that kind of thing been a big adjustment?

JF: I kind of feel like fame is like a birthday because you’re a year older but you don’t really feel any different; nothing really changes in terms of who you are. So I don’t know. I’m the same person, and pretty much life goes on. And it’s small little changes here and there, but it’s not really affected me as much as I think people expect it to. And, honestly, I have no complaints about it. It’s a really good thing to have your fans and to have people who will come and watch your films and your performances. And I hope they know that I appreciate that a lot.


Main Image Photo Credit: Fox Star Studios

Matthew Currie

Matthew Currie

Author

Having gotten his start with Anokhi Media as an intern in 2009, Matthew Currie was honoured to accept a position as the magazine’s Arts & Entertainment editor earlier this year. A graduate of the Professional Writing program at York University, he’s spent the past four years working as a fre...

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