Jacqueline Fernandez: “I’ve never had the guts to do a niche film”


Jacqueline Fernandez who has had a mix bag of super hits and flops, has shared in a recent interview her decision to continue with commercial films over niche ones.

Talking to DNA India, Fernandez was asked if she felt secure knowing that despite some of her films failing at the box office, she has managed to remain a popular choice with filmmakers. “Not really. Even when my films don’t really hit the mark, that’s fine. It never makes me insecure because I have already learnt so much. I know where I went wrong, what happened, and that it won’t be repeated. It’s an internal process and a more personal thing where I can see myself growing with each film. You cannot predict hits or flops. You can have as many flops but doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve failed. I like to keep myself busy, so I sign more films. But there are also times when I leave films. I want to be able to tell stories I really like. At the end, we are all storytellers.”

Asked how she reflects back on a film not performing well, like ‘A Gentleman’ (2017) Fernandez says, “I know a lot of people who really liked the film. There are a lot of people who didn’t like it. They told me what their issues with the film were. When I see a film, though, I see it with a little bit of a perspective. I’ve heard the script two years back and this is the story I believed to be entertaining to tell. When I see it, I actually enjoy it. With every take that I give for a film, I feel happy. There are so many memories attached. When we watch it in a trial, we relive them. I am never harsh with films not working. I think it’s okay if a film has not been accepted. You move on. It’s terrible if that makes you change the way you look at stories or tell them. But I’m critical about myself. I feel I could’ve done a scene differently. Cinema is art and we are just depicting a story. People tell stories in different ways. Just like with a painting or a portrait, everyone can’t be forced to like a film or not.”

For the ‘Flying Jatt’ (2016) actress, she is very much aware that a commercial film will allow her to be in the same league as the A-listers. “Absolutely! The best thing about being part of big and hit films is that they really popularise you. The reason it’s a hit is that so many people have seen the film. So, your value does increase. The only thing is that you can be continuously part of commercial films but if you are not adding value to what you’re doing or to your role, or you somewhere become replaceable, then that’s an issue. And, I do believe actors trying out niche films, is also good, whether they work or not. I’ve never had the guts to do a niche film. Not yet! I’m slowly gaining films, after having done so many films. Also, because I’m not from the country and I’m not too good with the language, that’s been my biggest drawback. I’m very careful to be part of films where I know I’ll get cushioning and padding. Where I’ll get support. It’s very daunting to do something niche and carry an entire film on your shoulder. Now, because I’ve been part of so many films — some of them that have done really well — I have been able to critique myself, follow the patterns and my techniques and understand where I can improve.”

Asked how this has changed, the ‘Kick’ (2014) star says, “I have a little more confidence now to say that there’s a story and I’d want to be part of this film, which probably I’d never have the guts to do before. And, for no other reason, but just based on whether I’d be able to carry this film or not. Now, there is a space in me where I feel, whether it works or not, there are stories that I do want to tell. I do believe in actors doing these films right now, irrespective of them working or not. I think it’s such an amazing thing to be able to stand up and say, this is the film I’d really want to do and a role I want to portray. That’s the best thing for actors to actually be doing.”

Asked whether filmmakers were not delving deep into Fernandez’s full potential, the ‘Dishoom’ (2016) star explains that it’s not something she has done. “The deeper you go into a script, which is something that I haven’t done yet, the more you get to hone your skills as an actor. I think I kind of did something like that on a much smaller level with a film like Murder 2. I never really went back into that genre again. Then, I went on to do full on comedies like Dishoom, Housefull and Judwaa 2, where the director doesn’t need to sit with you and discuss a serious backstory to your character. You are on a surface level and you’re still good. So I have focused mainly on the entertainment. I’ve not really gone into any deeper space. I look forward to doing a film like that again. But it does take a good teamwork to get it out of you. You need to have that kind of a script and director for that as well.”

Finally, Fernandez was asked if she is more willing to approach a filmmaker if there is a particular film of interest to her. “Absolutely (Smiles)! I believe we are from an industry where we are all the same. Directors, actors, or producers, we are all cinema lovers who are passionate about making movies. Directors approach us to be part of their films. I see no reason why an actor can’t approach a director. I would never enforce myself on a director. I would give myself a chance to explain why I’d love to be part of the film but never harass them. More than anything, a director, even when he approaches you, he gives you the liberty to say that you can’t do the film. You should be able to give a director that again when you approach them. Casting is really important for every film.”

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