Amy Jackson on working with superstars, facing criticism and dealing with failure

The last time I met Amy Jackson a few months ago, she was shooting with Salman Khan for Being Human’s apparel range. To my surprise, she remembered that when we caught up over coffee for this interview. Over the next 30 minutes, the actress talked candidly about her upcoming films — 2.0The Villain and Boogieman, her idea of success, and life as an actress. Read on…

Many Indian actors complain of racism in the West. Have you ever faced it here in India?

This is a problem globally and it’s not just about actors working in different countries. It’s just a general thing. I feel very fortunate that way. I get trolled on Twitter but that comes with the territory. But again, it’s not just happening to actors only.

Do you still face rejection?

A 100 per cent! When you go for castings and meetings, that is a possibility. When I would go for modelling castings and I would not get a call back, I used to take it very personally because I was 15 at the time and my hopes were high. I think my mom used to take it even more personally than I would. But this industry actually gives you a thick skin. As much as it’s good for life skills and life training, you also get to know your worth, and be happy with yourself. For the last 12 months, I have only grown as a person. Rejection is something you have to accept in life and it’s important to say that it’s not personal.

Has your perception about success and failure changed over the years?

Definitely! Success isn’t according to other people. It’s about how you feel. Obviously, I want to be happy and have a great career. I have goals. But in your personal life, to be happy is just as important.

How do you deal with failures now?

I deal with failures much better now, obviously. I do think about them, but I don’t dwell on it. Criticism is somebody else’s opinion and they are entitled to it. But it’s very hard to accept. That comes with growth and confidence. I just want to be better at my work next time.

Do you not get interesting Hindi film offers?

The problem is, all of last year, I had been shooting for 2.0. Shankar is really strict about his dates. Believe me, I missed out on a huge film when I was shooting for I. Unfortunately, that’s the price you pay for working with someone of that stature. I am working with Rajinikanth and Akshay Kumar and you can’t change your dates. Last year, 2.0 was my priority. I’m waiting for the next big thing in Bollywood.

What kind of films are you looking at from here onwards?

I would like to keep it very varied. It’s so easy for me to get typecast. I tried to stay away from that. In the south industry, I could stay away from that, I have done a bit of everything. Freaky Ali was great because I wanted to work with someone of that calibre. Singh is Bliing made me realise I can do action. Now that I have done it, I want to continue doing that and have that as my niche because I enjoy it and it turned out well.

Have you been inspired by Akshay to do a stunt scenes in The Villain. Your director Prem had a stunt double ready, but you did it yourself…

I shot that a few weeks ago. We were in Bangkok and I felt confident about doing the action scenes. I love doing it. My job doesn’t feel like work anyway. But when I have to learn the language, it’s a lot of effort and hard work, but action comes naturally to me. For Singh is Bliing, too, they had this lady who had come from Bangkok as my stunt double. We didn’t use her, we didn’t need to. So, they had another girl in Bangkok. We didn’t need to use her either. I was like, ‘No, I’ll do it’. (Smiles)

Do you think the industry is opening up to the idea of having a female action hero?

I would like to think so. There are more female-oriented scripts and I think the actresses are more demanding. With the likes of Deepika Padukone or Priyanka Chopra, who are strong women and won’t tolerate anything less. The rest of the industry expects that too. Open-minded directors and writers are getting inspiration from the talent in the industry.

How much does screen time matter to you?

The role matters. I want to be remembered, not get lost in the crowd. I don’t think about screen time, but about the impact it can have. In his first film, Brad Pitt’s had a legit five minute cameo on a horse. From there, he went on to become a superstar. That’s what’s important — what you come across to the audience as. You can be there for two minutes or two hours, but if you are boring and have a rubbish role, people won’t like you.

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