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'Dancing with Amitabh Bachchan was wow!'

Last updated on: October 29, 2009 14:47 IST

'Dancing with Amitabh Bachchan was wow!'

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Nithya Ramani in Mumbai

Bollywood seems to be opening its door a little wider for newcomers across borders. This Friday, Miss Sri Lanka 2006 Jacqueline Fernandez makes her debut in Sujoy Ghosh's Aladin, starring Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt and Ritesh Deshmukh.

Born in Sri Lanka, Jackie -- as her friends call her -- did her high school in Bahrain. After winning her beauty title, Jacqueline dived into Bollywood with this plum project. She tells Nithya Ramani more about it.

Was Bollywood an eventuality after you won the Miss Sri Lanka title?

No, Bollywood just happened. I hadn't planned it. After I won the pageant, I moved to Mumbai. Sujoy Ghosh called me for an audition and Jasmine happened just like that.


Image: Jacqueline Fernandez

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'Jasmine is every girl's childhood fantasy'

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What is Jasmine like?

Jasmine is every girl's childhood fantasy, where she thinks her prince will come and take her away. At the audition, when Sujoy told me he was making a film on Aladin, I was excited. It's something never done before. When I was told I was going to play Jasmine, I couldn't believe my ears.

This Jasmine is slightly different from the fable. The story is set on contemporary times. So I got a lot of freedom to be able to play with my character. I could show my talent and creativity. More than that playing a character you have grown up watching, it's a dream debut.


Image: Jacqueline Fernandez

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'Aladin makes you go back to your childhood'

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How different is Aladin from the fable?

This is Sujoy's imagination. He has made changes in the story, and given us his take on Aladin. So this Aladin hates lamps, is a coward and doesn't want any wishes. All he wants is Jasmine, but without magic. He does not believe in the genie and the magic lamp.

Then there is a Ringmaster (Sanjay Dutt), who is the next genie as Genius (Amitabh Bachchan) is about to retire. So the film has its own twists and turns.

Have you ever rubbed a lamp and wished that a genie came out to grant you three wishes?

I'd always hoped that I would come across something that would resemble a lamp and I could rub it and ask for three wishes. That's the best part about Aladin -- it makes you go back to your childhood.


Image: Jacqueline Fernandez

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'I was a nervous wreck on the sets'

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This is your first ever film, and it's a big budget film starring stalwarts like Amitabh Bachchan and Sanjay Dutt.

Come to think of it now, this is such a big movie. It's just dawning on me! I have grown up watching Amitabh Bachchan films and heard a lot about Sanjay Dutt. Now, I got an opportunity to see them in flesh, work with them and see how they work.

I was a nervous wreck on the sets, and very intimidated at first. But when I met them before the shoot, I realised that they were such lovely individuals; they make sure you are comfortable. They understand that you are a newcomer and are always there to help. I was in awe of them.

As a director, Sujoy is very cool, calm and composed. You will never see him lose his patience and get angry. The kind of rapport he shares with each member of the crew and cast is amazing.

Ritiesh was very warm. He took time out to rehearse with me, which he didn't have to do. We had a great time on the sets. We played chess.


Image: Jacqueline Fernandez

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'I didn't think Sri Lanka film industry was a place for me'

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Were you comfortable with the song-and-dance routine that Bollywood offers?

I loved that. Dancing to the songs of Aladin were the most memorable days of the shoot. Dancing with Amitabh Bachchan was wow! I loved dancing to You May Be, Ae Saawariya.

Did you ever try your hand in the Sri Lankan film industry?

The Sri Lanka film industry makes some good films. But I didn't think that was a place for me.

What next?

I have a film with Ritesh -- Jaane Kahan Se Aaayi Hai.


Image: Jacqueline Fernandez

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