Jacqueline Fernandez, 28, is not just a stunner of a looker but is also an extremely warm and simple human being. While she is comfortable being a girl looking after her home and looking fashionable, she is also a boy when she is with boys who know her well. Ahead of her upcoming film ‘Kick’ with her dream co-star Salman Khan, she talks to Bombay Times about the giver Salman Khan, her need to become a mommy and how she is happy being single post her break up with Sajid Khan. Excerpts:
On the day of the Kick trailer, you tweeted that it was the happiest day of your life.
I think it is possibly the best phase of my life. After the trailer launch, I went straight to Mount Mary. My makeup team and manager have been with me all throughout the past five years and have seen me through my various phases. That day, looking at me on the big screen with Salman Khan, we all just looked at each other, thinking about what had just happened. And we realised that it was really serious and we better go to Mount Mary just to say a thank you and be grateful. I truly believe it could have been anyone and that I had been lucky to be chosen. I can’t believe that I have been given this opportunity.
I have consistently worked really hard and it is nice to see things really paying off now. For me it was like, ‘Oh my God’. It kind of confirmed to me that this is what I was working for — working with Salman Khan on such a huge production. My brothers live in Australia and don’t really know about Bollywood. Due to the Indian community there, they saw it on their Facebook page and called me saying, ‘Jackie, you never told us that you are a part of a superhero movie.’ I told him, ‘Dumbo, you don’t know anything. It’s not just a superhero movie, it’s Salman Khan. He may look like a superhero, but that’s just him being casual.’
How did Kick happen?
Sajid Nadiadwala and Salman Khan are very gracious people to tell me that I deserve to be in this movie in this character but I feel it could have been anyone. It came down to a certain amount of luck and timing that took place and timing that had worked its way through many years, but somehow managed to get me there at the exact place. I saw it unfold in front of my eyes given what I saw of the casting of Kick. I knew that there were so many people being considered, including top actresses, that I didn’t even bother enquiring as it’s Kick — a Salman Khan film. I got a call from Sajid and I thought he was calling me to discuss a song or another movie but when I went to his office, I burst out laughing when he said, ‘It’s for Kick.’
The deal got signed that day itself and I got a call from Salman post that saying ‘Congratulations.’ He is the kind of person who believes a lot in hard work and he likes supporting people who are deserving and you can tell he likes that as he is that kind of a person. He works really hard for his bread and butter, is very professional and likes giving chances to people around him. Whenever he met me earlier, he would always say, ‘You need to work hard and things will happen.’ He probably felt that I was ready at that time. I thank my lucky stars to have Salman Khan in my life.
What is Salman like?
I never knew Salman before this. On the first day of shoot, it was the most nerve-wrecking day of my life as everyone was on pins and needles and everyone was waiting for him to turn up on set. I was in my hair and makeup, meditating, praying, chanting and telling myself to be calm. We were shooting in Karjat and he walks in. I had not even seen him but for some reason I could just feel Salman Khan walking on the set. The whole energy on the set had changed. And I turned and I saw Salman walking in with his whole entourage around him. He is so comfortable and confident. I didn’t know what to expect working with him as a co-star as you always have this perception of a super star that he may be difficult to work with. I was really anxious and was concerned about not doing anything wrong. But you know, we have shot Kick over seven months and I have never seen him lose it once on set. He never distracted himself away from his character and was always so helpful. I actually did not expect this from him.
You have worked with Mr Bachchan in Aladin, Akshay Kumar in Housefull 2, Saif Ali Khan in Race 2 and now with Salman Khan. Talk about them.
I did my first movie with Amitji but was too afraid at that time to talk to him. Akshay is really fun loving. With Saif you can have an amazing conversation as he too likes to talk about things I enjoy like literature, books, arts and travel. He is that way very worldly. With Salman, there is something that everyone experiences when you sit with him. He is very welcoming to his surrounding. When you are there sitting with him, you are family. He gives you food, he offers you tea, he makes you comfortable and makes you talk. And I feel people immediately connect with him. He is a giver, and he has so much to offer to others and that is what sets him apart. You get that very warm feeling from him where he makes you feel you are accepted and a part of his family. That is what makes him so special and he is definitely someone I connect with. With Salman, he wants to help people all the time. You sit with him over a conversation anytime and he wants to help all the time and give advice and that is what draws a lot of people to him. He will help you, guide you and is a saviour of sorts. And with him, what you see is what you get. Also, I love the way how in Salman’s family everyone has respect for each other.
Does marriage figure in your life?
Yes, marriage does figure in my life as I do want to have children. But I could also consider having children without getting married. The primary thing is having a good father, a partner who could be there with me through that journey. Times have definitely changed and we need to go with what we are comfortable with as we don’t need to necessarily conform as much today. I would love to have children as I am such a mommy. I have always been like that. Since I was as young as I can remember, my dolls became my babies, I still have my teddy bear from childhood that I named Mama bear because actually I wanted to be the mama. I know that I can be a really good mom as I love kids and love doing things for them.
You have always felt responsible towards your family. Do you sometimes get tired of it? No. It is in me to be that person, who helps and looks after. My family is really important for me. Even if I am thinking of doing something for myself, I will always think, wait a minute this needs to be done, that needs to be done for them. And that really makes me happy and gives me a sense of purpose. The fact that I can look after them as I have no one else in my life. I enjoy my work, but at the same time I am the youngest with an older sister and two older brothers. I looked up to my sister a lot as she was this girl into makeup, was glamorous and was the cool one among us. I would hang out with her friends as they were fashionable, which I wasn’t. Looking at my sister, I too wanted to be glamorous and cool but at the same time was also influenced by my brothers with whom I would play football. There was a different side of me, so, my personality is kind of two where I am like this homekeeper with a girlie side at one level but I also get along with the boys as they think I am one of them once they know me. Even with Salman, I am like a boy.
You were dating Sajid Khan. Are you in a relationship?
Yes, I was dating him but I am now single and very happy. And I am not dating anyone currently.
Do you look forward to being in a relationship?
I do, as I feel it is an amazing thing to be in love and feel loved in return but right now, my priorities are really different. Currently, I am getting that love and affection from my mom and dad and my family and I am giving it back to them and that is actually driving me. It’s more than enough for me right now.
Sajid Khan and Sajid Nadiadwala were in the past best friends. You are the only actress to have been directed by both, in Housefull 2 and Kick, respectively. How different are they as directors?
Sajid Khan is very passionate about comedy and cinema and has such immense knowledge that there is so much to learn from him. With Sajid Nadiadwala, what impressed me the most is that he really knows how to shoot romance and is a great mix of old and new Bollywood.