Is Jacqueline Fernandez the perfect commercial 'heroine'? Race 3 actress ticks all the right boxes
In the eight years since Jacqueline Fernandez made her debut in Sujoy Ghosh’s Aladin, she’s been a part of blockbusters like Kick, Race 2, Dishoom and Housefull 2 and 3. She will now be seen in Race 3 and Kick 2.
As Bollywood has evolved over the years, the focus has shifted from the typical masala fair to content-heavy narratives. We even tend to pay a lot more attention to actors making socially relevant and thought-provoking films. The big money, though, continues to be in the larger-than-life commercial films. And the one actress who seems to have cornered that market for herself is Jacqueline Fernandez.
The actress’ last film Judwaa 2, co-starring Varun Dhawan and Taapsee Pannu, made Rs 138 cr. at the box office. In the eight years since the former Miss Sri Lanka made her debut in Sujoy Ghosh’s Aladin, she’s been a part of blockbusters like Kick, Race 2, Dishoom and Housefull 2 and 3.
Since we first saw her as Jasmine to Riteish Deshmukh’s Aladdin, the actress has worked hard at honing her skills as a performer; even learning to speak Hindi. Her next release is the new installment from the Race franchise opposite Salman Khan, which will be followed by Dharma Production’s Drive opposite Sushant Singh Rajput. She has also been signed on to be the female lead in Kick 2.
So, what makes her the perfect commercial heroine?
From the time, Bollywood discovered the formula for a potboiler – a blend of comedy, romance, drama and action with chartbusting songs — filmmakers have looked for a certain kind of actress to support the film’s leading man. There’s always been a prototype of the commercial heroine in Bollywood. She has to be glamorous enough for the hero to fall in love with but also charming enough for his family to approve. She can hold her own in the acting department but shouldn’t be ambitious enough to hog the limelight. Think Parveen Babi, Zeenat Aman and more recently Katrina Kaif.
Jacqueline ticks all these boxes and then some. In the last few years, the actress has been a part of hit party anthems like 'Chittiyan Kalaiyaan', 'Jumme Ki Raat', 'Lat Lag Gayee' and 'Sooraj Dooba Hai'. 'Heeriye', the new Race 3 track that has the actress swinging from a pole, is sure to be a new addition to her hits playlist.
Along with her winsome smile and killer dance moves, it helped that Jacqueline was in Bollywood at the right time. Priyanka Chopra moved to Hollywood; the likes of Deepika Padukone, Kangana Ranaut, Sonam K Ahuja and Alia Bhatt made it clear that they wanted to be more than a hero’s arm candy; Kareena Kapoor Khan, who has described herself as the ultimate commercial heroine in the past, slowed down on the work front since she got married in 2012 and then, there is Katrina who probably just got too expensive for multi-starrer sequels.
Interestingly, there are quite a few parallels between Jacqueline and Katrina’s careers.
Both are former models who moved to Mumbai without any connections in Bollywood. While Jacqueline is a Sri Lankan who grew up in Bahrain, Katrina is British. Speaking in Hindi is a struggle for both. Like Aladin, Katrina’s debut film Kaizad Gustad’s Boom also bombed at the box office. Salman Khan is their career counselor. Both ladies credit him with changing the trajectory of their careers. "Professional" and "amiable" are adjectives directors use to describe both the actresses. And, they are an inspiration to hundreds of foreign models who wash up on the shores of Mumbai to try their luck in Mumbai.
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