Madharasapattinam debutant Amy Jackson is bowled over by India
Shimmering in her colourful earrings, Amy Louise Jackson is more of a merry Liverpudlian than a dainty starlet. “I had thought about acting only after (establishing myself in) modelling. But fate intervened,” confesses the actor who debuted in Madharasapattinam. She was in Coimbatore to promote the movie.
Amy, who says she's 18, was Miss Teen World 2008. She has been getting favourable reviews for her performance in the film. This was her first trip to India and she's been getting offers to act in Tamil and Hindi films.
“India is completely different. There are so many people and traffic. It took me a while to adapt,” she explains.
A love story
In the film set just before Independence, she plays Amy Wilkinson, the daughter of the Governor of Madras. She falls in love with Elamparithi, a launderer played by Arya, and the regime uses all its might to crush their love. All the British characters in the film have negative roles, except Amy.
“I didn't know much about the 40s in India,” says Amy whose grandfather fought alongside “very brave” Indian troops in the Second World War. She says she was open to acting in a film that showed the Raj in bad light, as long as she wasn't the villain.
“Vijay (the director) was behind me all the way. He and Arya prompted me when I had to say the Tamil lines. Vijay is so patient,” says Amy.
And, the patience paid off. In the iconic climax of the film, set in the wee hours of August 15, 1947, the police hound Amy and Parithi. Amy puts an inflated tyre around an unconscious Parithi and pushes him into the River Cooum, before being captured and sent back to the UK.
The gripping scene, that happens below Hospital Bridge opposite Chennai Central railway station, was actually shot in the Muttukadu backwaters in Kanchipuram district.
“We shot from 9 at night till sunrise. There were bugs everywhere, it was awful. But everyone was patient until we got it right,” says Amy. “I'm glad it was good.”
Her expressions of fear, dodging searchlights of the police with their whistles ringing all around, had the audience on the edges of their seats; some with their eyes moist.
She's now preparing for her 10,000 feet skydive over Whitchurch, near Liverpool. The proceeds from the event is for the Variety Club Children's Hospitals charity in the UK. “They rely on charity funding and I'm doing this jump on Friday, August 13, even though I'm really scared of heights,” says this Ms. England 2010 finalist.