After having his share of highs and lows in his movie career spanning close to three decades, megastar Akshay Kumar has carved a niche for himself in the industry. Today, he is considered the most bankable star whose presence in a film ensures nothing but massive success at the ticket-window. The versatile actor leaves no stone unturned to make his film a people’s watch and that is the reason he stole the show in 2016 with back to back hits like ‘Airlift’, ‘Housefull 3’ and ‘‘Rustom’. And now, he is all set to entertain the audience yet again with his next ‘Jolly LLB 2’. In a candid chat with our correspondent, Mohnish Singh, the actor opens up about his upcoming film, his experience working with his costar Huma Qureshi and much more. Excerpts…
How was your experience working on Jolly LLB 2?
My experience was very good. Any film that requires to be completed in a span of 4 months interests me because I am living that character for a little while, otherwise, after some time, you start getting bored and this applies to the best of characters. So I prefer to finish all my films in a span of 3 months. I enjoyed playing a lawyer as I was playing it for the first time. Playing a lawyer and cracking cases was a great experience for me.
After watching the trailer it seems like that Jolly LLB 2 is not just a courtroom drama and has many facets to it…
Courtroom drama is also something which is beyond the court. It’s all about what happened and how did it happen. The film belongs to the court and also beyond it, which happens in every case.
You’re playing a lawyer for the first time on screen. How did you prepare yourself for the character?
I did not prepare myself. I believe the director prepares more than me. My common sense says that I should only follow what the director says. The director has all the kind of cases and all kind of moments piled up, he knows what the court looks like and what kind of language is used. One should always follow the director and excel in that instead of using one’s own ideas as it becomes a lot more easier. That’s the only preparation from my side.
Common people going through problems in their life don’t seem to have much faith in judicial system. After playing a lawyer, has your faith in the judiciary increased?
Who says that people don’t trust the judicial system? I am sure that tomorrow if you get into a tiff or have any kind of problems, where would you go? Obviously to the court. The only problem is that there is a lot of time being taken. A case goes to take 12 years, 13 years as there are maximum 21,000 judges and 3.5 to 4 crores of cases pending. The lawyers are trying to give their level best. They have piles of cases to go through and have to make sure that they don’t give a wrong decision.
People are talking about the initiative you have taken when they watched your video on Twitter and Facebook. How will you go about it?
I thought of this idea a few days back. I feel that this is one place where one cannot twist your words. What you’re saying is going to be direct to the audiences. This is the great platform to say what you feel like and to be honest I know a lot of army people and I also have their account numbers. A friend of mine once said to me that celebrities can easily get their account numbers but what about the common people who also want to lend a helping hand to their families? We owe them this much and the government helps them so that they are secure enough.
You are no longer working with top directors now…
It’s only because of the characters and it’s nothing intentional.
How was your experience working with your co-star Huma Qureshi?
It was a wonderful experience working with her. She has done a great job in the film and she suits the role perfectly. In the film, she plays the dominant lawyer. It’s a perfect match.
Last year, almost all your films got critical acclaim but none of them were nominated in the award function. So how do you deal with all this?
Maybe I didn’t deserve it and there are many people doing better than me.
Kareena Kapoor had recently said that you are the one who told her that one should believe in rewards and not in awards…
I just said to her to keep on working and not to think much. If you just get a reward just carry on.
Jolly LLB 2 is more commercial than the first one. Is it because of you being a bigger star than Arshad Warsi?
He is the guy who made the film. So it’s not about commercial or not commercial. He also made that film a big one. On the contrary, I also feel this film goes well like the first one. The pressure is definitely on.
Every actor has his own share of ups and downs in Bollywood. So how has the journey been for you?
When I started my career, I was just doing action each and every day. Nobody would consider me as an actor. That was the experience I learnt that you cannot stick to what I learnt. If there was anything other than action I used to get sidelined. I still remember one day when I got into the lift and saw the mirror which kept on saying, ‘Wohi karne jayega abhi tu? Two kicks, three punches, four times you would fall and then come home.’ This doesn’t mean the mirror actually started talking to me. I thought I have to do something different. Then I spoke with Priyadarshan sir. He gave me this opportunity (Hera Pheri). He believed that I could do comedy. Trust me, I was not sure about it because comedy is very hard. He taught me a lot. Later Rajkumar Santoshi Ji and Neeraj Vora too.
How does it feel when a content driven film like ‘Rustom’ and ‘Airlift’ does better than commercial film like ‘Housefull 3’?
This is very true. Content has starting making its way into films. The audience wants to feel happy after watching a film and they got to see some story. It’s not that “ek raja and rani thi” but there is a twist where the Rani is having an affair somewhere. There is a moment that keeps you on the edge.
‘Jolly LLB 2’ is out on Friday 10th February 2017.
The only problem is that there is a lot of time being taken. A case goes to take 12 years, 13 years as there are maximum 21,000 judges and 3.5 to 4 crores of cases pending.