Akshay Kumar takes on the role of Advocate Jolly in a court room drama that has already recieved some rave reviews.
Here, he speaks about Jolly LLB 2 and among other things working with opposite Huma Qureshi.
Why did you agree to come on board for Jolly LLB 2?
Well, what I really liked about Jolly LLB 2 and what attracted me to it was the script. It is a great script, based on true incidences, and I was really impressed by the way it acts as a lens on our society.
The film is packed with satirical humour which is always far more palatable for an audience in a film like Jolly, where you are trying to convey a specific issue or message – it’s better than adopting a preachy attitude. It allows you to have fun but also think about the issue in equal measure.
But it’s more than just the script and story – it was a great team to work with, like Huma Qureshi, Annu Kapoor, Saurabh Shukla and our director Subhash Kapoor. The entire cast was great and we had a lot of support from our producers at Fox which is always good.
You have really been mixing up the genres and roles in recent years including three contrasting films in 2016, is that a conscious decision?
I am very conscious about the scripts that I choose and it is true that I do want to be challenged in that part so from that perspective I do try to mix it up, versatility is a career saver in this kind of industry.
But it is a largely a coincidence that 2016 had such a mix of roles if I am honest as I can never really control the kind of films that come my way...
Please tell us about your character and the story?
Well, it is the story about of a blunt, abrasive and yet oddly compassionate Advocate Jolly, who I play –a small-time, struggling lawyer who moved from Kanpur to the city of Nawabs, Lucknow, to take on the establishment.
It’s a bit of an underdog persona, as Jolly attempts to catapult himself to the top of the legal food chain.
Having spent years in the chaotic and dingy court corridors, Jolly is looking out for an opportunity that could turn the tide in his favour and help him achieve his dream of becoming a full-fledged Lawyer with a chamber.
When faced with the glimpse of such an opportunity, Jolly jumps at the chance and in the bargain commits an innocent mistake with irreversible consequences that makes him ready for a big fight with the ruthless advocate Mathur played by Annu Kapoor.
How does it feel to have beaten a record in the film making within 30 days?
I think Jolly (LLB 2) has beaten all my previous wrap-up times.
It’s fast-paced and magical to work with my director Subhash Kapoor, who is so well planned and prepared.
Punctuality is my gift to him and his script and planned screenplay is his gift to me.
Even the army needs a day off and so does the team. Despite the quick shoot, we still had Sundays off, but we worked double on Mondays! It’s been a great experience.
What is your favourite moment in the film?
Well without giving too much away, the courtroom drama at the climax was a particular highlight for me. I think it will be the moment when the penny drops for the audience as to what’s been going on.
Is it true you refused to use a body double when you jumped into the river Ganges/Ganga during the shoot?
Yes, although my director requested for a body double to perform my stunts, I refused to do so. But don’t worry, I’m a good swimmer!
What was your experience like working with your director?
Subhash has made a National Award winning film, he’s been a successful journalist in the past, his sets are real, his stories are believable, and his writing is brilliant.
He’s a very intelligent filmmaker and his specialty is making realistic films and he’s great at it. I was very happy to work with him and we gelled very well. The Punjabi connect added to our camaraderie.
Do you prepare for your roles?
I don’t prepare myself for any role. I think my directors prepare more than me. I believe that I would not be able to compete with my director’s preparation because he is doing one film a year while I am doing more.
Therefore, my common sense says that I only follow his preparation of the role for me. I don’t act smart in front of my director.
What are the challenges you face and is it your deliberate choice that you have taken this kind of role?
Yes it keeps you always on your toes because you do different characters and you do not take your work for granted, you do not take your audience for granted and you challenge yourself which keeps you motivated also, so it is a deliberate attempt that I try to do something different.
Whenever you do a film, you take the character quiet seriously, as a lawyer how in depth did you study your character?
No I didn’t study the character.
My director studied the character, he who wrote and directed the film. My director has been a political journalist so he had a good knowledge about all these things that is why he wrote this film. So he told me in which areas I should look and how to work and act.
The name of your character is the same as it was in the first part, but is not a sequel that builds on the events of the first film, is it? Are you playing your own version of the role?
I have never played a character like this, it’s the first time I am playing a fully-fledged lawyer role.
This film has been my desire because since I was small my dad used to tell me stories about Akbar and Birbal.
Birbal was very smart and Akbar always tried to put him in trouble and always tested him toknow how he thinks, things like if you didn’t give the right answer then you would be killed, things like this, and he used to come out with flying colours.
When Subhash Kapoor narrated the script and I heard about the cases in the film, it reminded me about Birbal, so I was looking forward to play this role.
Jolly LL.B 2 releases in cinemas on 10 February 2017 through Fox Star Studios.