x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Amy Jackson, an English rose plucked by Bollywood

Meet India's latest leading lady: an English beauty queen turned Bollywood hot property.

Amy Jackson in Ekk Deewana Tha. Courtesy Fox Star Studios
Amy Jackson in Ekk Deewana Tha. Courtesy Fox Star Studios

Amy Jackson, Miss Teen World 2008 and the runner-up to Miss UK 2010, is the latest in a line of beauty queens who have succeeded in Bollywood. After her debut role in the 2010 romantic drama Madrasapattinam, the actress moved to Mumbai. Her decision has paid dividends - she recently landed the lead role in the forthcoming film Ekk Deewana Tha (There was a Crazy Guy).

Starring opposite Prateik Babbar, Jackson says of her role: "I play Jessie who comes from a very reserved family, where things like boyfriends, staying out late and partying are totally out of the question. Jessie gets her world turned upside down when she meets Sachin, played by Prateik, and it's basically a really sweet story that everyone can relate to."

The 20-year-old says she still can't believe her luck. "You know, it still seems a bit of whirlwind. I won Miss Teen World and then a movie rep saw me on the pageant website and thought that I had the perfect image for the role in Madrasapattinam. So he flew over to England to meet me, and within a week I was filming in Chennai."

Before Bollywood came calling, Jackson admits she had not seen a single Indian film. Now she's learning Hindi and taking dance classes. She says being English has not been a hindrance in her attempt to feel like she's part of the Mumbai film industry.

Of course, such a life-changing move doesn't come without its downside. "The hardest thing for me was leaving my friends and family behind. Because I just turned 21 on January 31 and I just want to do what normal 21-year-olds do," she says. "My friends have started going to university and I've jetted off and started this new life. I have to stand on my own two feet now. I really miss my mum's cooking, simple stuff at home, watching TheX Factor."

She says she's still getting used to the attention focused on her by the Bollywood gossip columns. "It's hard to get used to that," she says. "I'm scared to look in the papers in the morning."

Jackson's modelling career has also changed. She's no longer doing the catwalks and instead is in the more lucrative sphere of endorsing brands.

The actress-model imagines she won't be returning to the UK any time soon. "I'd really like to make my mark in India. I'd like to continue here for many years to come," she says.

She's already signed up for several film projects. "I start my next movie in March and have two others after that."

The first is the Telugu film Yevadu, directed by Vamsi Paidipally, while another is a romance to be shot entirely in San Francisco, proving that not even filming in three different languages - Teluga, Hindi and English - can faze India's latest leading lady.