It is tough to pin down Akshay Kumar. The man has been traveling the world, well literally, with his Jolly LLB 2. One day he is in Delhi, the next he is in Dubai, and 48 hours later he is back in the NCR. While he hops in from one city to another with his much awaited film, it is a challenge indeed to connect and get him talking at stretch about his first release of 2017. We eventually do and as always, it is a pleasure to hear from the man himself. Here he does, and that too in detail, about taking on the State with his Jolly LLB avtar, the connect that he is with UP, the face-off with veteran actors, the sequel factor and a lot more.
Of late, you have started appearing in a series of films that are entertaining while also carrying either a piece of history or some sort of messaging. Jolly LLB 2 is continuing with that tradition, right?
I am in a very passionate zone of late. I never thought it was possible after 25 years to still be, if not more, excited about my work than ever before. I have literally reached a point where I don’t mind any outcome, as long as these messages or these pieces of history touch someone. I am extremely happy; it feels good to do good. So messaging or not, but I am sure Jolly LLB 2 will strike a chord.
The promo pretty much indicates that by no means are you misleading the audience by presenting it as an out and out fun filled entertainer. Instead, they can expect a lot more!
That’s correct, this isn’t a comedy, this is a high quality drama with a touch of humour and life to make it all the more real. It’s what I love about this film. It has such beautiful ingredients and timing that it just flows so nicely. There is not too much of anything, nothing too heavy or too stupid, just a brilliant screenplay written by incredible talent, made by a genius and put together by some of the most remarkable actors I have ever had the pleasure of working with. So no, this isn’t a mass masala, it’s a very well thought out masterpiece that everyone will be able to enjoy, whether they are highly educated or street smart. There is a lesson to be learned for everyone.
The age old adage of ‘all is fair in love and war’ is being challenged in a big way by your character. To counter that in a challenging manner is a big statement to make.
Well, it’s what I believe in real life and in my film. Things are far from fair, two wrongs will never make a right, and unjust behaviour in my eyes is as bad as murder. If you are going to stand for what’s right, I advise all to be bullet proof, because even the smartest dressed men will drag you down to lift themselves. Hence they say, keep your friends close but your enemies closer. As for Jolly, even the right side of the law can be just as criminal as the wrong side; it’s knowing how to handle it that gets you where you want in life.
You have also brought in variation in your body language, dialogue delivery and mannerisms to come across as a true UP man. Guess an instant connect is bound to be formed with your ‘desi’ audiences?
That’s what I am hoping for. Subhash Kapoor sir brought the absolute best out in me or so I hope. Being a man from UP himself, he was able to concoct the kind of character I was born to play. He is a very wise and very experienced man. One of the reasons I thought this script was to die for was the fact that his homework, his past, his effort to dig deep into these court cases is so inspiring that one couldn’t help but fall under his spell. He is just brilliant. The kind of man he has made me play in this film, I’ll never forget.
How was the entire premise of Jolly LLB 2 conceptualized? Did Subhash Kapoor have it all ready when he approached you? Or was there a germ of an idea, you came on board and then he developed it further?
He was beyond ready; he was on point before he even walked through my door. For three years he has been writing and perfecting this sequel; that’s what I admire so much about him. He is a man who knows you can’t just pull this out of the hat, you got to work at this. The dialogues are so intense and spot on; it takes time to prepare something as real as this. It’s a very brave subject and one I couldn’t wait to start. Subhash sir’s past has played a huge amount of credit to his film. Being a journalist from UP, he is aware of things much more than any writer/director would dream to be for their own scripts. To already know the how’s and why’s gives him such a good edge.
While there are hints of some bigger battles being fought in the film, a lot has clearly not been revealed either. Do you want to share a bit more insight into what exactly is the core of the clash here?
Oh no, absolutely not. My trailer gives you all I need you to know right now, this is a film that needs to be watched, not explained.
Meanwhile, for the lighter moments, there is Saurabh Shukla playing the judge. He was fantastic in Jolly LLB and looks like the two of you had quite a lot of fun on camera in the sequel as well, isn’t it?
Again, another superb actor whose presence is just amazing to be around. Bouncing off him is such a pleasure. I really and truly thoroughly enjoyed every courtroom scene in this film, waking up knowing I was going to be challenged. I was going to have to perform and not just turn up & try. I had to be what the film needed me to be. I had to be good enough to stand strong in front of such incredible actors. I loved my job in Jolly LLB 2. It’s films like this that make you want to dig more into India’s soul & show what more can be done.
In 2016 you had three releases and each of these turned out to be successful. In 2017, you are starting your campaign with Jolly LLB 2 and have at least three more films lined up. Guess the trend continues?
One can only pray, but like always I ask for ‘nothing’, so ‘anything’ is always a bonus.