Jacqueline Fernandez misses Sushant Singh Rajput; says ‘I go online and see videos, pictures of us together’
During a special session on India Today e-Mind Rocks 2020, Jacqueline Fernandez talked about life in lockdown, mental health, Sushant Singh Rajput, Salman Khan and more
Jacqueline Fernandez is someone who always has a smile on her face. She exudes positivity and inspires people to live their life with smiling. In lockdown, she has been keeping herself busy by doing yoga, journaling and taking care of her wellness.
During a special session titled ‘My journey in Bollywood: How to stay positive during the pandemic on India Today e-Mind Rocks 2020’, Jacqueline Fernandez talked about life in lockdown, mental health, Sushant Singh Rajput, Salman Khan and more.
The best compliment I feel that I have got throughout my career in 10 years was when they say that I bring a smile to their faces, or I make them feel happy and positive. That has always been my favourite thing to hear. It's not easy to stay positive always, especially in these circumstances that we have found ourselves in. We have seen what our friends are going through, what's going in the world and in the industry. It's difficult to keep up your positivity in these times. But we need to be able to support each other.
What's making me sad right now is the fact that who knows if we'll be able to re-do the stuff we used to do like give hugs, shake hands any more... Have the kind of functions that we have had, like in big crowds, in big groups, I don't know how long it is going to take. I often think about it and go through old stuff. I was very blessed in the fact that I was able to spend a huge amount of time in a farmhouse, be around nature and do stay and do things I love like planting and gardening. I knew very well if I was in the city I would be alone, I would probably not allow anyone in, after sometime it would have gotten to me. It would have gotten quite depressing and lonely. A lot of my friends live this way, they live alone and are away from their families. That is something a lot of folks in the city are going through.
About Sushant Singh Rajput
It's very difficult for me to digest that he's gone. When I go online, I still see so many videos and pictures of us together. The other day I saw a video of us rehearsing for a show that we were doing together. I don't know how someone who I would have never guessed in my wildest dreams would have wanted to take his life. Whenever we worked together, I was the one who would say Sushant I'm struggling with this. We bonded very well. We did a film together, but we have done stage shows appearances. We have travelled together. I looked at him as this genius. He was always telling me which books to read. He would say, "Oh Jacky, you don't know this. Oh wait, wait, wait. Let me introduce you to this author, let me introduce you to this Science." And things actually helped me in my life and changed my life in a way. The kind of things that he was teaching me about philosophy, about bio-hacking, things about improving my wellness and energy level.
About her moment with anxiety
This happened to me a few years ago. I didn't understand what was happening. It had a great deal to do with my work. I didn't know what's happening. I was feeling very lost. You don't have anyone to turn to. When I was able to muster up the courage to talk about it to a few people, they would brush it aside. They would say, "You can't be talking about something like that. You are being ungrateful. People like you who have enough can't be talking about stuff like that." And that made me realise like they are right. I am completely able, I have what I need. I am healthy, I have enough, I have my family. But still there were bouts, My chest would feel tight and I couldn't breathe. I kind of kept things to myself. I put myself into work and things kind of worked out. But recently, after Sushant's death, it was strange. I was contemplating on a lot of things. The anxiety, the tightness in the chest and the not being able to breathe properly, it just came flooding it. These are actually things only professionals may take you through.
How did you fight anxiety
I started creating a routine in our life. There's so much uncertainty. And uncertainty breeds a lot of anxiety. You are continuously worrying about things you have no idea about. But because you have time to think about it, you are worsening it. What I would do is I would create a routine for myself. It would involve a lot of wellness. Journaling helped me a lot. It's a form of therapy. It's like you are venting out things. It takes some time but it works slowly. You start thinking about positive aspects of things.
Exercise is also extremely beneficial. It is way more than a skinny body or six-pack abs. It's like telling your body that I have it in control. Discipline is necessary. You are actually disciplining your mind to go into the right path. You have to have a routine.
About her guilty indulgence
When it comes to food, it would be pizza, ice cream. I have been indulging in a glass of wine over the weekend. I'm someone who loves to spend time at home. Even when we were working, I would never go out to party. I think like some people get carried away with the glamour of the industry. You can lose sight. It can pull you into a deep hole that you cannot imagine. Late nights and partying, it throws your entire routine off air.
When are you planning to get married?
Not even my parents ask me that. It's funny, that to get married you need to have someone in your life and I don't have anyone. I never had anyone. When it comes to chemistry, you can't predict it. I always go with emotions. I can't make a list about a guy, that I want this and that. For me, it's only chemistry and electricity. My intuitions turn out quite right. When you have an intuition, your mind knows exactly what it's doing. Three important things to me are fitness, discipline and a person who has values.
Inversions in yoga. It is very anti-aging. Doing headstands and handstands, helps circulate blood. It removes toxins. I'm really working on my hand stands. You have to work a lot on all the inversions in yoga. You have to go through an entire flow of yoga poses which involves head stand to downward dog and everything that you do to prepare yourself to do hand stand. Even when I was doing pole, I was doing inversions. It was an entire body workout.
I was always enamoured by the glamour part mainly. I was this Sri Lankan girl studying in the Middle East, the world was so out of reach. I couldn't even tell anyone that I want to become an actress. I realised at the age of 14, I was called to do television. They needed a kid for their programmes. I have a natural knack for being on television. I can interview people. I'm not camera shy. I was like, let's learn about media communication and I took media law, I took business studies and mass media. I went to Sri Lanka as an intern and worked for Young Asia Television on the show No War Zone. That year, Miss Sri Lanka happened and joined it because for me glamour was something I always admired. And then it was no looking back. I was asked to do modelling stuff in India. I never imagined to be an actress in Bollywood, but it happened. Whatever your dream is, keep it there and take opportunities that come your way.
How important is education, qualification in your career and industry? What is the advice you want to give to youngsters who want to make a career in the industry?
Education broadens your horizons. It teaches you the value of discipline. It teaches you people and how to hone your skills, which you might don't know you have. When you are young, you have time, do it. It's an added advantage.
I wish I was able to give more time into acting courses because in whatever field you go into you should keep learning. I realised it much later in my career and that's why I started taking lessons. If I schooled in it, I think I could have learnt so much more and would give so much more into my performances.
To youngsters, who want to work in the industry, I would say you've got to train and work on your skill sets. That's why I emphasise on the importance of learning skills, whether it be dancing, mimicry or any type of skill that you can add to acting that can make you different and stand out.
Insider vs Outsider debate
I realised something about the industry that it is the most beautiful fraud in the world. I have been here for 10 years and I have come here from nowhere. What we do is not real. As actors, whatever we do is always a show. And it is a skill to be able to do that. One thing that I learnt is be the best talent you can be, be the most hard working person, but at the same time the industry requires you to also be a people's person. It's very important to be a people's person in this industry. Fortunately or unfortunately, it is about how you communicate and how well you get along with people. Making a film is not about one person, hundreds of people are involved. It's team work. You need to be able to work with all these people. My thing is to learn communication as a skill.
The reason why nepotism didn't bother me because I was still getting work. Maybe not the kind of work that I wanted to do, but the work I needed. I was still getting my fair share of work. I didn't see it affecting me very much. I'm not so much against nepotism, but I had problems with favouritism. I also feel that there's a glitch in our casting system. What I know about other studios, how casting in film industries in other countries perform. They have a really tough casting board. Everybody needs to go through auditions, they need to prove themselves. In Bollywood, I don't know if there's a rigid casting system. It may be there for secondary actors. But when someone wants to make a film with their people, I don't think we can do anything about it.
It has given a lot of opportunity to actors, technicians and everybody working on a project. New kind of content is going to be accepted. Writers are going to play a pivotal role. People are experimenting more with the content. When a film like Mrs Serial Killer first came to me, we were like is this something we can release theatrically, we don't know. There is always this pressure, if we'll be going to make the losses, will we make enough on the first day. Will it be something detrimental to us if it doesn't work. You run a risk. Here, you have enough room to experiment and creativity could flourish.
About music video with Salman Khan
When he told me that we are going to shoot a song, I thought he was joking. It was very funny. We are used to, God knows how many people. We are usually told about a song shoot months in advance. You get in shape, you work for your costumes, styling, you figure out choreography. It was a daunting thing for me when they told me. I was like you are going to make me shoot a song without my crew, and that too it's opposite Salman Khan. When you shoot a song opposite Salman, it's a huge song, everybody is going to see it. He asked me to trust him on this one. We had one videographer and one cameraman. Whatever we were using for our social media videos, we had that camera. We were doing our own art direction. I had to do my own make-up and hair. Of course I can do my hair and make-up, but it's always in my head that if I have to appear in front of a camera someone has to do my make-up and hair.
About social media
It's a double-edged sword. I have been on social media for a couple of years. I have come to realise that you have to take things with a pinch of salt on social media. There's so much politics on social media that people don't understand. Just remember it's for you as a medium can be really beneficial. For me, it really sustained me for all this time. Just being active on it, being professional on it, trying to get work through it, it has actually been beneficial for me. If there is any negativity, just be clear that social media is a medium just to have fun on or to make money out of it. I also love to interact with my fans. I have a few fan clubs there and we love interacting with each other.
On working in Hollywood
It is a common thing to actually broaden our horizon. All of us have signed some agency abroad. But the thing is that you have to invest a lot of time and energy. Working in Hollywood is something that will not come out of nowhere. The casting system there is rigid. You have to be there for auditions and all. You have to meet the right people. For me, Bollywood has always kept me a lot busy. I have been there a couple of times, and I have realised that you have to invest a lot of time and energy. Not just Hollywood, but world cinema. It's my dream to do French cinema.