When producer Sajid Nadiadwala called Jacqueline Fernandez to his office, she thought he wanted her to do a special number in some film that he was producing. Once she learnt she would be playing Salman Khan’s leading lady in his action thriller Kick, the actress went to the Mount Mary Church in Mumbai to offer a prayer of thanks.
While talking to City Times over the phone from Mumbai, Jacqueline said she was on cloud nine when the offer landed on her lap. “Getting this role was like winning a lottery. It came out of nowhere. It was shocking. I did not expect it. Not only was it a Salman Khan movie, but my role was also good. Plus, it marks Sajid’s directorial debut - everything kept getting better and better.” In fact Kick will be Jacqueline’s first big project as a lead heroine. She started her career opposite Riteish Deshmukh in 2009 with Aladdin, which failed to do well at the box office. Following which she was seen doing special numbers and small appearances in movies like Housefull, Housefull 2, Ramaiya Vastavaiya and Race 2. Murder 2 with Emran Hashmi was a hit but it did not propel her career as expected. And while a look at Salman’s career graph will show that his leading ladies don’t exactly come off well at the end of it - case in point Sneha Ullal, Daisy Shah and Zarine Khan who were all launched by Salman Khan - there is no doubting that a project opposite the action Khan is a much desired one.
As far as Jacqueline is concerned, this movie might get her the kind of exposure, she has not enjoyed so far. After Kick, she is doing Roy with Ranbir Kapoor and Arjun Rampal where she will be seen in a double role. Apparently one of the roles is that of a filmmaker for which she has referenced director Kiran Rao. Following that she will be seen with Riteish Deshmukh in Bangistan.
As of now Kick rules Jacqueline’s life and she cannot stop talking about it.
“The story is about this extra-ordinary character played by Salman Khan who does everything in life with the purpose of getting a kick out of it. How he changes the life of ordinary people is pretty much the crux of the movie. It’s extremely entertaining with lots of action. My character is that of a simple girl who goes though extraordinary emotions. That’s the beauty of it.”
‘I will never be part of an illogical movie’
Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays a character with grey shades in Kick
A staple at International film festival circuits with films like Gangs of Wasseypur, The Lunchbox, Monsoon Shootout and others, Nawazuddin Siddiqui has also appeared in commercial movies like Sarfarosh (1999), Talaash (2012) and others. However Kick marks his first fully fledged role in a mass entertainer. The actor feels the movie will give him an opportunity to connect with a wider set of audience.
“I was looking forward to be part of a mass film as I have done only low budget movies so far. I wanted my low budget movies to reach the masses. I felt that this is a very good opportunity for me to connect with them.”
So how was it acting alongside Salman Khan? “Our professional relationship was very good. We did not become great friends but sometimes after the scene, we would sit together. I even ate biryani from his house.”
Contrary to his image of doing only low budget movies, Nawazuddin does not mind doing commercial movies but he is clear about one thing. He will never be part of an illogical film. “I want to do every kind of movie but I do not want to do illogical movies. For example Kick is a massy film but every character has a reason to be present on screen; there is logic in every situation and twists. Every character has a logical background. So If I get similar films, I will do it for sure.”
After struggling for years in Bollywood, Nawazuddin recently tasted success and is not ashamed to admit that he wants his remuneration to be increased.
“Every man grows in his or her profession. If your salary is ten rupees today, you would want it to be twenty tomorrow. It is the same strategy with me. It is not a rumour; I want to hike my price.”
‘I’m not going to disappoint Salman Khan fans’
Popular author Chetan Bhagat has written the additional screenplay of Kick alongside Rajat Arora, Keith Gomes and Sajid Nadiadwala
Four of Chetan Bhagat’s books have been made into films. His bestselling novel 2 States: The Story Of My Marriage was recently made starring Arjun Kapoor and Alia Bhatt, and it struck the right chord with the masses. 3 idiots (based on Five Point Someone) and Kai Po Che! (Based on The 3 Mistakes Of My Life) managed to hit the bulls eye at the box office, while Hello, inspired by One Night @ the Call Center fell flat at the box office.
So how did Kick happen? “Sajid Nadiadwala had bought the rights of 2 States. He and I had a good relationship because of that. He called me to his office and said, ‘After 28 years of producing, I am thinking of directing a movie. I want to do it with my best friend Salman. I liked the concept of the Tamil movie but I want to make a fresh story out of it.” That was how I was brought on board. I was surprised and told him, ‘I am a novelist. This is different than the other films I have been with’. It was a kick to do this film. I did it for the high of working in a Salman Khan starrer, plus Sajid directing was an added bonus.”
The novelist told us the approach for writing the movie was quite different from writing a novel. While in a novel, he gets to decide every aspect of the story, in the movie, he had to get consent at every stage while working with the team. Like Nawazuddin, the lure of reaching a wider audience is what attracted him big time. “Films reach a lot of Indians, which a book almost never can. That is the big appeal. Kick being a mass movie will reach so many people who I otherwise would never be able to reach. It is nice for a writer to have a range. Once I did it, I really enjoyed it.
Bhagat told us that special attention was paid to every character not just the main ones. “Even supporting actors like Nawazuddin, Saurabh Shukla and Randeep Hooda play important roles. They all come from very interesting parallel cinema. The director is clear that just because there is a Salman Khan does not mean others will be taken for granted. Yet we tried not to be so different that the fans will get upset. So he had to do action and comedy. I am not going to disappoint Salman Khan fans. As an author, I make sure that every character that I write stays in people’s minds.”
Salman has been through his shares of ups and downs in the industry. So what does Jacqueline thinks of Salman Khan as a human being? “I think his main ambition in life is to give back and he has made that his passion. When you watch the movie as well, I do not think anyone could have done this role better, because, that character is so Salman. That is the beauty. I think it is the honesty in him that makes him so special.” Jacqueline continues, “There is a calmness inside him. But I think it’s because he is a very simple person. He does not need much in life. I think because of that there is a certain amount of wisdom and peace in him.”
Jacqueline Fernandez on how people find it hard to believe that a woman can move up in her career on her own merit
“The sad thing is that people find it difficult to accept that an actress can achieve something on her merit. Why does it always have to be this feeling that (when she achieves something) there was some exchange or compromise involved? I mean that takes away so much from all the hard work that we put in. But it happens with a lot of actresses. I think that is something that will never change. Exceptions are always there. We do have to live with it. People think that the actresses have sold themselves to get a movie. That is very sad.”