August 16 2015
Her reputation has been steadily rising and though it looks a conventional blockbuster, her role in one of the biggest releases of the year is quite different from the way you’ve seen her before she tells us…
BOLLYWOOD star Jacqueline Fernandez hopes you will notice something quite different about her in her turn for the current Askhay Kumar blockbuster, “Brothers”.
For the first time in a Bollywood production, she’s not there primarily there as the eye candy or a pin-up, she told www.asianculturevulture.com.
“It’s very empowering for me, it’s got nothing to do with the way I look – this is different.
“With all the other characters I’ve played I was able to relate to them: they were college girls, or they were glamourous and stylish but there was nothing I could relate to in this character, nothing at all – before it was always about being glamorous.”
Fernandez, a former Sri Lankan beauty queen, plays Kumar’s wife in the action packed kick-butt mixed martial arts spectacular.
Recast from the Hollywood film, “Warrior” (2011), Kumar and on screen-brother Sidharth Malhotra come to blows over their family differences, as the two macho martial arts champs strive to be top dog.
Kumar’s and Fernandez’s characters are also haunted by their young daughter’s rapidly deteriorating health.
“She is extremely ill,” explained Fernandez. “They don’t have enough money to pay the hospital bills.
“This character was a far cry from anything else I have done.
“I wouldn’t know what I was doing when I walked on the set; I couldn’t relate to the character and had no connection to her, but then the director (Karan Malhotra) was really good and able to talk me through it.”
She admitted it would be something of a surprise for audiences more used to see her pouting and being romantically pursued.
“Nobody would expect me to be in such a role, it’s great to be able to surprise people.
“I hope that this role in ‘Brothers’ will open a lot more doors for me and directors are able to see that I am willing to take on such a role. I can push myself. It was pretty challenging.”
She said the whole experience has lifted her confidence as an actor.
“It’s been a great eye-opener,” she confessed. “I never thought I could play a part like this. I want to do more of these kinds of film, it really pushes you.”
Her own success and fruitful transition from beauty queen and model to established Bollywood star has arguably come principally off the back of two films.
“It’s not been the easiest journey,” Fernandez admitted. “But surely and slowly, I’ve been able to make one big film a year,” said the Mumbai-based star who grew up in the Middle East.
One of those was “Kick” in 2014 – a Salman Khan action spectacular, it was one of the highest grossing domestic hits that year. Fernandez predictably played the love interest.
Her primary breakthrough into the big league came with the earlier “Housefull2”, a clattering juggernaut for Akshay Kumar’s comic talent and a considerable box office success. Fernandez had a small cameo role in the first film of the franchise and it was considerably elevated in 2, where she was one of the leading characters.
So for an actor not cast consistently in majorly emotional films (by Indian standards), her role in “Brothers” was a huge departure.
“I asked the director the question – why did you think of casting me? You could have gone for actors who have more experience and or who have the background.
“He saw something in my ability to play someone you have empathy with. She (her character) is always positive and someone who says, ‘No, we’re going to get through this, let’s try this’.
“You want to be on her side, you want her to pull through, and to succeed. He wanted to bring something very important to the character (in this regard).”
She is set to work with Kumar again in “Housefull3”, which starts shooting in September and said she enjoys working with one of Bollywood’s most popular figures.
“He is such a great person to work. He’s a a great co-star, he has a lot of patience and is very supportive.”
Contrary to media reports, she isn’t about to launch a clothing line or fashion range.
“I have a restaurant, and a couple of other businesses (in Sri Lanka), in hospitality, and agriculture.
“With restaurants you are serving people and I like spreading Sri Lankan culture and awareness about our local produce and working with local farmers,” she clarified, explaining that she would not be averse to expanding in the future.
Main picture top: Akshay Kumar, Jacqueline Fernandez, Sidharth Malhotra
*’Brothers’ went on release worldwide on August 14