February 7, 2017 5:55:23 pm
Actor-director Saurabh Shukla talks about his character in Jolly LLB 2, co-star Akshay Kumar and life as an actor in an interview with indianexpress.com. Below are few excerpts from the interview:
One of the reasons behind the success of Jolly LLB was your act as a judge. Was the entire part written in the script or you had to improvise some of it?
The part was written very well and all crucial points were there. Both Subhash and me worked on bringing a life in the character. We didn’t want to stereotype the character. We added a lot of things to the character like his irritation, day-to-day life, eating habits and how does he burp. These things were written in the script but got enhanced when Subhash started working as a director.
What was your method as an actor in doing this character?
Every actor has a different method or process for preparing a role. I do not write notes or prepare the background in advance. It starts on the sets. When I approached Judge Sundar Lal Tripathi — I had few questions and points — what’s the salary of a judge in a lower court in India, he will not have a swanky car but a modest one (as he is honest), he drives on the same roads with potholes and he also has to solve 10 different cases. Judge Tripathi loves a hot cup of tea.
Because when there is a lot of clutter, he wants to start a day in a good way. So I will have a cup of tea and then will go through the day. But my assistant is very clever in the film. So he prepares the tea in advance and keeps it in a thermos. Another imagination was that the flask of the thermos is broken. So by the time Judge Tripathi has tea, it is cold. So that’s how we brought life to the character.
How your role in the Jolly LLB 2 is different from that of previous one?
It’s a question an actor can’t really answer. Only a writer-director can tell you that. But I had the same kind of freshness while doing Jolly LLB 2 as in the first part. As an actor, I didn’t have to repeat anything. But he is still the same guy. He is still Sundar Lal Tripathi. So there is a resemblance with the first film. But there are new insights that Subhash has brought as a writer here.
Do you like doing comedy roles?
I never really do the ‘comedy’. ‘Comedy’ is always used in terms of slapstick. Everybody has got a sense of humour. You actually get attracted to a man at a party who has a good sense of humour. You are put off by a man if he doesn’t have humour. Every character I do or I write, I keep humour in mind as that is an integral part of life. Even if a very serious role is offered to me, I try to make it lighter at points and at the right time they become serious.
Recently Bombay Hight Court ordered to cut a few scenes from Jolly LLB 2 as they ostensibly mock the legal profession.
I have really no idea about this. It’s not honourable for citizens to go against the law. I am sure producers and filmmakers are taking care of it. I am not aware of the proceedings and the case. Of course, I have heard about it, but have not invested my time in knowing about it. When I hear half the facts, it’s like the Chinese whisper. So it’s best left to the producers, lawyers and court.
CBFC has already passed the film. However, Bombay Hight Court is still screening the film. Your comments.
This is not in context to this film only. This is a much bigger question. I think legally, there is a body which passes the films or demands the cuts and it is called censor board. But there is another body which has more power than CBFC and it’s the court of law. On legal points, one can’t say that a film passed by CBFC can’t be taken to the court. One can take anything to the court. Apart from these two institutions, nobody should have the right to stop a film. What has been in happening in the country is that some group of people create hoopla about the film. These sort of people have no legal rights. I would always say that when there are legal bodies (there are two), we should follow them. Bombay High Court has the legal rights to look into this matter.
You worked with Arshad Warsi and Boman Irani in Jolly LLB. Do you think the addition of a star to a sequel lessens the charm of the film in the process?
Both Arshad Warsi and Boman Irani are stars. Which star are you talking about? They are both great actors. I said this when I won National Award that ‘this award is to my two actors, Arshad Warsi and Boman Irani because you are as good as your co-actors.
Akshay Kumar is a bigger star than Arshad Warsi. Do you agree?
In terms of this film, he is a fabulous co-actor. A lot of credit for my performance in Jolly LLB 2 goes to Akshay as he was my co-actor as well as Annu Kapoor. If you like my performance in the film, it is due to these two actors. Akshay is a bigger star in terms of trade value. That’s completely a different area. But apart from being a star, he is a wonderful actor. That is his prime job. Akshay Kumar has time and again proved himself as an actor.
He hasn’t only done so-called commercial films, but he has also done Special 26, Baby and Rustom. Why suddenly are we talking about him being an actor? He was one of the best actors in Khaki. Akshay got interested in Jolly LLB 2. He is wonderful in the film. There’s no scoop in it on why Arshad Warsi is not in Jolly LLB 2. Akshay has brought a different shade to the character with much ease. I at least had similar kind of fun working with Akshay in Jolly LLB 2 if not more (as compared to Arshad). Akshay is very, very good as Jolly.
Do you think as a country we are producing enough good content?
Somebody was telling me that 10 years back, the valuation of Chinese film market in the world was about $1 million and it was same for India. In the last 10 years, China has grown 10 times and Korea has grown 20 times on the world stage. We are still the same. We don’t have a standing in the world market. The mindset of the market is still very old. You will find youngsters watching Netflix because we aren’t producing any new content for them. If Israel can produce a series like Homeland which becomes number 1 in the US, why haven’t we produced any original content? Some people are creating original content, but we aren’t giving enough respect to them
There was a long gap between your role in Satya and Barfi? What were you doing in-between these two films?
I acted in films. Some were good films, some were not. Somehow I wasn’t too satisfied with I what I was being offered. I thought of taking a break from acting. I started writing. I have a different theory about life. When my parents asked me to complete my education and do a job, I didn’t do it because I felt I will not have fun doing that. I came to fulfil my dreams and have fun. If am not feeling happy doing my job, then what’s the point of doing it? Money is a by-product. It helps complete your dreams. I was not finding many films. I was about to give up acting and that’s when Anurag Basu called me for a role in Barfi. Both Barfi and Jolly LLB brought back my interest in acting.
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