Meet the Sexy Brit in Bollywood
British actress Amy Jackson talks about her first Hindi film, Ekk Deewana Tha, opposite Prateik.
"It hasn't yet fully sunk that I am in a Bollywood movie," gushes Liverpool-raised English model-turned-actress Amy Jackson.
"Even as I now have a second Bollywood project, a far bigger movie Ekk Deewana Tha, I still feel like it is all a big dream," she continues.
She is not authorised to announce the second Hindi film yet but she says she would be working in at least three films, including those being made in the South this year.
The original Tamil version of Ekk Deewana Tha had Trisha Krishnan in the lead. Though her work in the hit film was much appreciated, director Goutham Menon decided to cast Amy Jackson in the new version.
Image: Amy Jackson
'I am getting to fall in love in Mumbai'
Ekk Deewana Tha was not her first brush with the camera. She first played a British girl in the Tamil film, Madrasapattinam, directed by A L Vijay.
At that time, she had been apprehensive of how she would be welcomed by the industry --- and then by the general public. "I thought, after all there are so many wonderful Indian artists around and not to forget those who are looking for a break, I thought," she says. "So the fear was that how I would be accepted."
But she decided to take a plunge. She was just about 17 then.
She had caught the attention of Vijay when she had won a teen beauty contest in England. Travelling had fascinated her and the wanderlust played a role in coming to India over two years ago.
The fear went away with the first release, she says. "Now that I have felt very much at home in Chennai," she says with a chuckle, "I am getting to fall in love in Mumbai."
Image: Amy Jackson
'I was in the hands of an excellent director'
Amy was also aware when she signed for her first film that many foreigners come to India seeking small roles in Indian films. So it looked surreal for her for some time that a girl from Liverpool would be in a big film made in Chennai.
"But I was in the hands of an excellent director, who got me to be natural in the film and made sure that I knew of the basics of Tamil language," she says, adding, "Then I began to learn Hindi for Ekk Deewana Tha."
She plays an orthodox Christian girl in the film, being distributed by Fox.
Madrasapattinam was a big hit and she got rave reviews. 'If you know Amy Jackson is a Brit, she is,' wrote a blogger, 'and if you know Amy as a Tamil actress, she is very much a Tamil actress who can put on a sari and act in a Madurai film. Well, that may be too much but anything can happen. We are bored of our heroines and now one or two like Deepika Padukone and Amy Jackson have come forward to spice up our movie-goer lives.'
Image: A scene from Ekk Deewana Tha
'Once Prateik gets to know you, he just won't stop talking!'
"I had to get used to not only the daily rhythm of life but also the food," Amy says.
Liverpool has, like many British cities including Birmingham and Glasgow, dozens of restaurants that serve the food from the Indian continent. "Though they are spicy, the dishes are still toned down for British consumption," she says. "I had to get used to much spicier food in Chennai."
As she was enjoying her work in Madrasapattinam, she was also getting a strong feeling she would be doing more Indian films and playing a variety of Indian characters.
She is paired with Prateik in the romantic film Ekk Diwana Tha. How did it work out and was she aware of her costar's famous reticent behavior?
"He is shy and reserved," she says. "But once he gets to know you, he just won't stop talking!"
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Image: Amy Jackson and Prateik
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar