Syed Firdaus Ashraf in Mumbai
What's it with Jacqueline Fernandez and fantasy movies?
After making her Bollywood debut opposite Riteish Deshmukh in the fantasy film Aladin, the former Sri Lankan beauty queen is ready for yet another flick Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai. She plays an out of this world character in the flick which releases this Friday.
And while her first film Aladin didn't work at the box office, Jacqueline is gung ho about Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai, which incidently stars Riteish Deshmukh once again.
She spoke to Syed Firdaus Ashraf about her film. Excerpts:
Is it true that you were first offered the second lead role in the film? And it was only later on that you did the
When they offered me the movie, there was a different girl who was playing the lead role. But then things changed. When I was offered to do Tara's role, I felt, 'Wow! That's cool.'
In fact, I told myself, 'Wow! I wish I had done this role' because it was very good. So this role came to me like a blessing. When they asked me, I said, "Of course I will do it.'
It is not often in your life that you get a chance to play a girl from Venus!
'Aladin in my mind is still a winner'
Did you believe in fairytales when you were a kid?
Yes, of course, big time. Even today I feel that you can never know about superpowers and the extraterrestrial. There are so many things that we don't know about our world and human capacities. Moreover, as an actor, you have to give yourself that kind of imagination.
What are you looking for on Earth when you come from Venus in this film?
I am looking for what everyone is looking for -- love.
And you find three men chasing you. Is that true?
Yes [laughs]. That is the fun part. This film is about friendship and family. It is all about those things with an amazing twist, because I am an alien. So there is a different angle to it.
When you came to Mumbai, you got Aladin and acted with Amitabh Bachchan. But it didn't do well. What went wrong?
I was completely satisfied with the film. I still get mail for my performance. So I didn't get so affected with the outcome at the box office. In my mind, it is still a winner. It is a beautiful movie.
'I never get scared'
How did the idea of coming to Mumbai come to you?
It happened overnight. I am quite a spontaneous person. The idea came out just a week before I came to India. I told myself, 'India... that could be interesting!'
My initial move was to go to United States, because I speak English. My bags were packed and I was waiting to go. I suddenly thought it was not a bad idea to come here.
Basically, I was spotted for a fashion show and I was getting modeling contracts. They started coming more often. So, I told myself that I must make my permanent base here.
After that I came to know that they were looking for Jasmine for Aladin, and I went to audition. Later on I came to know I was in.
Weren't you scared to be in a country where no one knows you?
I never get scared. What is there to be scared of in life? This life is all about travelling for me, going and exploring other countries. Seriously, if there is an opportunity to go to, say Timbaktu, I will go for sure. That is what my craving in life is all about. The whole idea of coming to India was exciting.
'Hindi film is getting global recognition'
Which films did you see as a child?
I never saw, but my father watched many films. I remember once or twice I saw Devdas which I found very pretty. Then I saw Sholay and some of Amitji's films.
It was more of language barrier first. Now, Hindi film is getting global recognition and I feel it is the right thing to be here.
What was your family's reaction?
My mother was happy because she felt that at least I was closer to Sri Lanka, rather than going to the United States. I told them, 'I have nothing to lose if I come and try my luck in the Hindi film industry.'
Any other films?
I am in no hurry. I am enjoying my time. I am doing now quite a bit travelling. Moreover, I will never do a role unless I am 100 per cent sure of it. So, I am waiting for that right role.
When did you first know you would be an actor?
I knew from childhood. I love Hollywood films and I am in love with movies. When I moved here and joined Barry John's acting school, I realised that it is a wonderful profession.
'Many say I don't look like a Sri Lankan'
Do you feel Indians don't know much about Sri Lanka?
Yes, many of them. When they meet me, the first thing they say is, 'But you don't look Sri Lankan!' I always ask them, 'Have you been there? Do you know anything about Sri Lanka?'
Even when I was in the Miss Universe contest, many didn't know about Sri Lanka. It is a very beautiful country. Moreover, anyone who has been to Sri Lanka will be impressed with the hospitality of the locals. I feel happy to be here because I feel in a little way I am advertising my country.
Why didn't you try your luck in Sri Lankan films?
We make few films because of the political problems that our country went through earlier. But we have well-known international filmmakers. Recently, one of our directors Vimukthi (Jayasundara) won an award at the Cannes Film Festival.