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    Actress Amy Jackson talks about the much-awaited I, social media smarts and becoming an Indian resident.

    By Mrinalini Sundar

    Last friday, British model Amy Jackson landed in Chennai. And though she has made several trips to the city before, it was a special touchdown in the country, as the actress is moving to India permanently. And why not? After all, the model-turned-actress from Liverpool got her first big break in the Tamil film industry. Spotted by director A L Vijay on the Miss Teen World website, she went on to star in his 2009 hit Madrasapattinam alongside Arya. Despite being new to the language, Jackson wooed audiences with her on-screen presence and landed her second film and debut Bollywood venture, Ekk Deewana Tha by acclaimed director Gautham Menon. Four movies later, Jackson found herself working with another famous director, Shankar, and is currently awaiting the release of I, in which she shares screen space with veteran actor Vikram.

    On the “I”way

    Jackson has been working on I for the past two-and-a-half years and considers it to be a milestone. She plays the role of Diya in the romantic thriller and has been counting the days for the film’s release. “Obviously, there are very high expectations surrounding the film. It’s a huge part of not only my career, but my life,” she says. Since the release of the trailer on December 18, it has received 5,421,346 views on YouTube and is trending on Facebook, too. The music, by A R Rahman, is already a hit among fans and is receiving more than its fair share of air space on radio channels as well. Incidentally, Rahman also composed for Ekk Deewana Tha. “I was lucky to have had beautiful music composed by A R Rahman in Ekk Deewana Tha and for it to happen a second time for I is incredible. I love the entire album, but my favourite has got to be Ladio,” she says. Ladio also happens to be the first song in which Jackson will be seen dancing from start to finish. “I loved performing it. Choreographer Bosco and his team are the best,” shares the star, who also danced to many of the songs during the audio launch of the movie that saw superstars Rajinikanth and Arnold Schwarzenegger as guests. “Performing for Rajinikanth and Arnie —not to mention over 10,000 people behind them—was overwhelming. It was my first on-stage performance and I don’t know how I’ll even begin to top that in the future,” she shares.
    Jackson, who feels that Indian men are “truly tall, dark and handsome” (she dated her Ekk Deewana Tha co-star Prateik Babbar), is a huge fan of Vikram. “He needed to arrive three hours before filming commenced for prosthetics and had to stay behind for hours each day to have it all removed. I can safely say that Vikram is one of the most hardworking and dedicated actors in the industry. He is like a chameleon with each film he does and he inspires me,” shares the actress who is impressed with the efforts that have gone into promoting I. “The marketing of the movie is very aggressive. PR is very important and to constantly update social media is necessary too.” With more than 200,000 followers on her Twitter handle, Jackson is comfortably social media savvy. “In this day and age, I feel social media opens the gateway to everyone. It gives fans a sense of your ideology and personality,” she says.

    Quick learner

    From playing a governor’s daughter in Madrasapattinam, Jackson has come a long way in the industry. “I was 17 when I did that movie and have spent five years in the industry now. My priorities have changed, I know what I should be doing and I have to learn to master my art,” she confides. After I, Jackson will be seen in director Thirukumaran’s next with actor Udaynidhi Stalin and a film with Dhanush, directed by Velraj. “I am open to doing different roles—say a rustic village belle. Thirukumaran’s film shooting has begun in Ooty and I play a stereotypical South Indian girl,” says Jackson, who dismisses rumours of playing a ghost in Venkat Prabhu’s Suriya starrer, Masss. That said, Jackson insists that she will be particular about choosing her roles, especially after I. “I want to make sure I have a strong character in the movie before I take it up,” she says. As an avid traveller, Jackson doesn’t mind the hectic schedules. “I remember when we went to the mountains in China and had to walk for two hours to eventually reach our shooting spot. The location was definitely worth it though,” she recalls her 50-day shoot in China for I. “One day it would be 30 degrees then we’d fly to another part of China and it would be minus five degrees with snow, hail and everything else the sky had to offer!” she laughs.

    Plan of action

    Besides I, Jackson has been busy celebrating Christmas with her family in London. The 22-year-old has also been shooting for a gritty BBC drama series for a few months now. After romance-heavy movies like Ekk Deewna Tha and Yevadu, Jackson looks forward to working in an action flick. “I love action and have trained in kick boxing. I’ve been very sporty from childhood and would love to be offered an action-packed movie. I continue my classes in kick boxing even today,” she confesses. The actress also likes a challenge and has done a few bold photo shoots with magazines like Maxim. But is she open to playing a seductress? “It depends on the film. If I can do justice to the character, why not? I like strong woman characters,” smiles the actress, who rates watching herself on the big screen for the first time, as the best moment in her life.

    Style files

    ■ Fashion icon: Victoria Beckham
    ■ Favourite designer: Namrata Joshipura, Givenchy
    ■ Sari lover: The sari is beautifully sensuous without revealing anything.
    ■ Top fashion tips for 2015: The spring summer collection that was showcased in December had a lot of pink and that is my favourite colour.
    ■ Must wear accessory: My watch from Bulgari

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