Jugal Hansraj: My character was not in sync with my personality
On being offered Kahaani 2
I was surprised when Sujoy (Ghosh) offered me the role but wondered why they had approached me. That was my first question to Sujoy – why me? But I took it on as a challenge. I have known Sujoy for a long time and admire his work. Working with Vidya (Balan) was another big plus and it was the Kahaani franchise and, above all, such a beautiful script. I am happy with the response the film received and it was worth taking up the film.
Sujoy wanted to show how a gentle, family man, who is respected in the family and whom everyone loves and listens to, can commit such crimes. That’s why he chose me. Jo sharif dikhta hai, but hota nahi hain.
Highlighting an issue
Obviously, the script is fantastic but the film also highlights an important issue. I just wondered whether I could pull it off. When you have someone like Vidya Balan in the film, I didn’t want to look unsuitable for the role. So I was a little apprehensive about how the content would be received by the audience. But when Sujoy narrated the script to me, I realised it was written very beautifully and conceptualised very nicely. I also realised that this character had alot of challenging things to do. And more than anything else, Sujoy was very convinced about casting me. On the very first day, we shot the opening scene with Vidya, Amba Sanyal (daadi) and me. Since I was nervous, I decided to follow my director. We did a few reading sessions and Sujoy guided me about the body language I needed to use and the way my character spoke. After the first scene, he was very happy and I heaved a sigh of relief.
More than the brief, what I liked about Sujoy was that he was very well prepared. We used to finish shooting by evening but, after that, when we were shooting in Kalimpong, we used to rehearse the next day’s scenes. Of course, we didn’t rehearse scene by scene, because Vidya is magical actress who acts differently in every scene. As an actor, I had to react to what she delivered. Not only does she not do the same thing in every take, Sujoy too surprises you on the sets, every day.
More of acting
If something as unique as this comes my way, I would definitely take it up. I am looking for out-of-the-box scripts. The whole character didn’t sync with me, it was very challenging. It was easier to play roles in Mohabbatein or Papa Kehte Hai and when you play a character that contrasts with your personality, it is always a challenge. Having said that, I am not open to similar roles.