• Saturday, May 25, 2024

E-GUIDE

Chasing Amy: Brit star on her incredible Bollywood journey

By: Sarwar Alam

By Asjad Nazir

THE extraordinary cinematic success of Amy Jackson has seen her make a mark in Indian cinema despite not speaking the language. By starring in commercial South Indian and Bollywood films opposite big named stars the Liverpool beauty has shown no dream is impossible to achieve.

Her special-effects-laden next release 2.0, opposite superstars Rajinikanth and Akshay Kumar, is one of the biggest-budget Indian movies ever made. The sequel to 2010 sci-fi film Robot is set to continue the amazing rise of the British babe, who is now also looking at Hollywood.

Amy is taking everything in her stride and was remarkably relaxed when Eastern Eye took a car journey with her through London. She spoke with heartfelt honesty about her amazing cinematic journey, future plans, inspirations and more. That winning smile lit up each answer.

You would need incredible confidence to take on the challenges you have done. Were you always this confident growing up?

(Laughs) You didn’t see me a few weeks ago Asjad, before my performance at the Indian Premier League when I had to perform in front of 60,000 people. I was petrified. It doesn’t get any easier. Even when I am doing scenes I still get nervous inside and stuff, but it is good nerves, I suppose. Like it gives you that high on life. That is why I love acting because it gives me that flutter I suppose. But I do get nervous. Actually in school I wasn’t that confident, especially in drama, and used to get really shy. I used to try skipping drama class because I was so fearful. But I think travelling, meeting people and just getting to know myself has made me more confident.

You are one of the biggest British success stories in Indian cinema. Did you ever imagine that would happen?

I didn’t and still don’t because I feel like it is ongoing. I still don’t feel like I am anywhere near my peak or where I want to be. I am always learning continuously. Robot sequel 2.0 has made me realise this is the big game. I am seven years into it, but still feel like I am learning and growing with each project I do.

What has the experience of working with a megastar like Rajinikanth been like?

I never thought I would get a chance to work with a superstar like that in Indian cinema at all. Every day when I would go onto set it still didn’t feel very real. The majority of my filming in 2.0 is 80 per cent on screen with him. So all my scenes are practically with him. So I felt super privileged. But he is at such a high position today because of the type of person that he is. He is very grounded and you would never know he is such a huge superstar. He is very real.

Is he the most interesting person you have met on your cinematic travels?

He certainly is one of them purely because of all the stories about the industry all those years ago. Bollywood was new to me when I joined the industry seven years ago, but now hearing stories from him about back in the day when he first started, where he came from and the way the industry has changed was fascinating.

Does the fact everyone is expecting 2.0 to clock up huge box office numbers put pressure on you or make you nervous?

It definitely does, yes, but it is good nerves again. They are excitement nerves. I know how amazing the director is. Obviously Rajinikanth and Akshay Kumar are great. The people working behind the scenes on the special effects are just incredible. It’s gonna be something not seen before in India. I know that I am in good hands.

Are you following your instincts or is there a master plan in place?

(Laughs) There may have been a brainstorm about life on some occasions, but I really just go with the flow. I know it is really cliché, but I think you attract what you put out there. I think that is actually what has happened I suppose. I do know what I want, but that is a different thing. I am exploring ways of doing what I want and trying different things.

How are you choosing your projects?

I do choose projects specifically. I go through my script first to see if I can do justice to the role. I go for characters I can live, breathe and get into the skin of. I have now taken a step back after having completed the Robot sequel. I am exploring different avenues in the UK as well. I have learned my craft in India and still wanna continue with cinema there for sure. But nothing has matched up to 2.0 right now. So I am holding for something mega next. I have just finished British film Boogie Man, which still has an Indian connect and is about the different generations of a British Asian family. It is cool and relates back to India. I am in discussions for a Hollywood film over the summer.

Have you got used to Indian media making up fake stories about you, like bogus romantic link ups?

I think that is perhaps life in general to be honest. In India you are in the public eye so they create speculations and wanna sell papers. I don’t read anything any more.

How have friends and family in Liverpool taken to you becoming this Indian princess?

When you say Indian princess I really like that. I think the reason I have lasted so long in the industry in Mumbai and Chennai particularly because I have had great support from my parents. The support of my friends has been important as well because it gets really lonely when you are travelling all the time and alone in a hotel room.

You work really hard, but what are your big passions away from work?

Animals is the first thing that jumps into my head. I am working closely with PETA right now on a new campaign. But fashion also generally for my own sake interests me. I am thinking and planning something in the future (I don’t know what), but to do with fashion and branding. That is something that really intrigues me.

What is the most Indian quality you have found yourself adopting?

(Laughs) I do a bit of a head wobble sometimes. As soon as I got there it started and when I come back for a couple of weeks after in London I do it. I don’t even know I am doing it. It comes naturally.

What is your favourite place in India?

(Thinks) I would probably say North India. The Himalayas are just beautiful. Ladakh was stunning and so beautiful. Then you have the huge contrasts in the South, which is gorgeous. I love Kerala and particularly the food.

Today what most inspires you?

I think the people around me who I know are doing well. People who follow their dreams and people who believe in themselves inspires me and makes me wanna do what I wanna do almost. Following your dreams for sure inspires me.

Why do you love cinema?

I think cinema is a form of magic because people go to cinema and for those few hours are transported to a different world. What you see on the screen is magic basically. It takes you away and has more of a magical quality in India because people who don’t have much money will save up for that ticket, so they can have that escape. It’s nice to be able to have that effect.

You have become a role model for British girls who want to make it big in India. What advice can you give?

Truthfully you have to live and breathe it. I lived there right in the midst of it for three years. It can get overwhelming, but I think it’s all about hard work. Basically that is it. I was very fortunate to get cast for the first film. People try for years and years and it doesn’t happen, so I owe that to the director who found me. It was fate I guess. To keep it long lasting you do have to work very hard.

Can you give a message for your fan base?

Thanks for all the love and support. I wouldn’t be able to do this without you.

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