How does it feel to be part of a franchise, Jolly LLB, whose first
outing succeeded not only critically but also commercially?
Expectations are high, so I think we are all a little anxious. The stakes are high, especially for the director Subhash Kapoor and for Akshay Kumar. I guess the first instalment and its sequel has a vast difference between the economies of two projects.
How did this project come to you?
All my projects come to me through my office and I always follow the same procedure. First, I ask for the synopsis, and if I like the synopsis and I feel the character they are offering me is good enough, then I ask for the script. That’s how I got this project too.
Were you given a brief or did you decide to treat this character on your own?
The charcterisation of any character is a joint venture between the captain of the ship, that is, the director, and the actor. No actor can go beyond the script and the framing of a director. So it was Subhash Kapoor and Annu Kapoor.
In Aitraaz, you played a lawyer in support of Akshay Kumar. In this film, you are against him.
This role is more profound than the one I played in Aitraaz. This one is more substantial and powerful than my role in Aitraaz. In that film, my role was like a cameo. I don’t know why Subhash Kapoor thought of me for this role but I am very grateful to him.
What was it like working with Subhash Kapoor and Akshay Kumar?
Akshay Kumar is a cool guy, he is a very nice co-worker and we worked together in The Shaukeens and before that in Aitraaz. Of all the contemporary heroes, I think he is the only one I have worked with. I have worked with the top heroes of my time, such as Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra, but after that generation, I have only worked with Akshay Kumar.
I found him to be a simple and down-to-earth person and also someone who is honest and sincere. I didn’t have the chance to get to know Subhash Kapoor personally. He is a director who thinks in an innovative way and he forces you to execute the work accordingly. Full credit to Subhash Kapoor, it is his contribution to my role that made it what it is, my contribution is nothing.
The first trailer of Jolly LLB 2 is witty and the second trailer is pretty serious. How did you manage to be comic and serious at the same time?
There was no planning or thought while doing this role. I just did what the script demanded of me. My role is very serious, which automatically turns out to be comic sometimes. Neither the director nor the writer was trying to create a comic or serious scenario; they were simply doing justice to the subject.
Also, that’s exactly how court proceedings are. Sometimes, we are serious when were are conversing with each other and sometimes we use wit. So it’s not comedy as such. Not once did I feel that Subhash was asking me to do that. You need to have that kind of wit and manipulative way to essay this role.
You have played many different types of roles in your career. What are the characters that have stood out for you or lived on with you?
Basically, I am a very serious person. I played Gandhi in Sardar, directed by Ketan Mehta, and Veer Sawarkar as a cameo in Sazaa E Kaala Paani, which was directed by Priyadarshan. These are the characters I have enjoyed and were totally immersed in. I am not a comedian; there are brilliant actors who can do wonderful comedy. I am not capable of that. I cannot forget Vicky Donor… Shoojit (Sircar) and I made a concerted effort to make sure that my character did not look vulgar. Vicky Donor is one of those rare creations in Indian cinema that was not copied from anywhere.