In 2010, Indian film producers spotted Jackson's photo on the Miss Teen World website and invited her to audition for the Tamil period-drama film Madrasapattinam (2010). Despite having had no previous acting experience, she was cast as the female lead opposite Arya. The film, set against the backdrop of 1947 India, tells the story of a British Governor’s daughter who falls in love with a village boy. Jackson admitted that it was very difficult to learn the Tamil dialogues. The film was released on 9 July 2010; it was praised by critics and performed well at the box office , with Jackson gaining praise for her performance. Sify wrote, "It is an out and out Amy Jackson show. She is simply amazing to deliver lines in Tamil, and is one good reason to see the film". Behindwoods wrote, "The one who walks away with the top honours is Amy Jackson for a beautiful portrayal of a lady torn between her love and the mighty empire. She looks absolutely beautiful, emotes well through her expressive eyes and is able to earn the sympathy of the audiences during tough times". Rediff wrote, "Amy Jackson is almost perfect as the wide-eyed young girl who is seeing India for the first time, fascinated by its culture". She received a nomination for the Vijay Award for Best Debut Actress for her role in the film.
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