Actor and model Jacqueline Fernandez bares her heart on her life in India, being a former journalist and tasting the best mustard fish while on a visit to Kolkata.
Describe the two years in Mumbai when you were modelling, before stepping formally into Bollywood. How did you deal with the stress that usually comes with it?
I think I dealt with those two years with a lot of patience. Success doesn’t happen overnight. It may take months, years even. What is important is to keep faith in yourself and in what you have gone there to achieve. It does take a lot of iron-will and patience. I was never desperate and I think that’s what worked for me. I enjoyed every bit of the struggle period and treated it as a learning experience.
You had been a journalist earlier. Today, how do you deal with awkward questions thrown at you by reporters?
I sometimes wonder why do they even ask such questions! But at the end of the day, we have to remember that they are just doing their job and we, as public figures, have to be answerable to them. The key is to be quick. Taking more time to answer these questions plants things in their minds. It all comes with experience. You deal with so many reporters in your lifetime that you automatically know what to say, how to say.
Bollywood is currently experimenting with a lot of different scripts and churning out a lot of good cinema. Do you see yourself doing some?
Bollywood has changed drastically over the years and the change is still happening, right before our eyes. Scripts are getting more daring, characters are moving away from stock Bollywood characters we are used to seeing in a sense that there are a lot of layers to a character now. It is important to reinvent oneself because burnout is the scariest thing that can happen to an actor. The kind of films being made these days provides the perfect opportunity for that reinvention. Essaying a character, these days, is more challenging and is the best way to be recognized as an actor.
You were in Kolkata recently for an event. How was your experience of the city?
I’ve been in Kolkata twice now and it has been a fantastic experience! This time, after the event, I drove around town and had mustard fish! I cannot recall the name of the restaurant right away but it was the best that I have tasted in recent times! There is a certain ancientness to this city which I love and would love to come here more often.
Recently, there have been a lot of political tension between India and Sri Lanka. Do you think cinema, as a medium, can help bridge gaps between nations?
Of course. But people need to give it a chance. The trouble between the two nations has been brewing for a long time. It is 2011 already and, so far, I don’t see any kind of mending happening. People still hold grudges. I think cinema can form a very good medium for peace but people need to be open to it.
You’d surely be cheering for your team for the Cricket World Cup…
Of course, I will! There is no doubt about it! Though I don’t follow cricket that much, I would be screaming for my team!
Are you seeing anyone right now?
No! I am still single!
( Article first appeared in Calcutta Times, the Times of India, dated 31st Jan,2011)