Arshad Warsi on Jolly LLB 2: 'With a bigger star like Akshay, the film is looking larger than life'
Munnabhai’s ‘Circuit’ Arshad Warsi is delighted for a simple reason: filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani is helming the third installment of the immensely popular franchise, Munna Bhai MBBS.
Hirani has confirmed that he will direct one more installment of the franchise and will begin working on it as soon as he wraps up the shooting of Sanjay Dutt's biopic with Ranbir Kapoor. Munna Bhai MBBS was released in 2003 followed by its sequel, Lage Raho Munna Bhai, in 2006. Now, 11 years after the sequel, Arshad is all set to reprise his role of Circuit to Sanjay Dutt’s affable Munna Bhai in the comedy-drama.
“It (the film) is so relevant in today’s times. It’s a beautiful script. It’s in the same space as the other films. It’s funny, emotional and has a message which, if people really listen to, we will have a better place to live in. It's an excellent thought and completely relatable to people across the globe,” says Arshad, further adding, “I knew for a long time that I am doing the film. But it will start only after Hirani finishes Sanju’s (Sanjay Dutt’s) biopic which will be some time next year."
Speaking about his character, Warsi says, "Getting into Circuit's character once again would be great because I am aware what the audience is expecting from me. It is all there in my head and I know what I did. I can always refer to the previous parts to get the nuances right."
Post Lage Raho Munna Bhai, Hirani had started working on Munnabhai Chale America, but it hit a roadblock as the team was apparently not too happy with the script. “Munnabhai Chale America happened in another lifetime,” quips a witty Arshad Warsi.
And now, as Akshay Kumar-starrer Jolly LLB 2 hits the screens this Friday (10 February), Warsi opens up on being replaced by a 'bigger' star (Akshay), who has often said that Arshad showed him the way of doing a film like this. “Akshay is just being polite, it's nothing like that. He is very good at what he does and he must have done a damn good job. He has been calling me to watch the film. I loved the promo, it is quite interesting. It is in the same space as the first one but with a bigger star it is looking more larger than life," says Warsi.
So did he miss out on a good opportunity by not doing the second part especially since Jolly LLB had bagged the National award?
“If I had only Jolly and no other film in my life and career, then yes, I would have felt I was a fool. I would be thinking that it was the only food on my plate and that is gone. But that is not the case. The two people for whom it doesn’t really matter whether we did the film or we didn't, is Akshay and I,” says Warsi, adding, "Actually I wanted Subhash (director) to make a film with Akshay because with me he gets a budget of Rs 15-20 crore to make a film, but with Akshay he gets a budget of Rs 40 to Rs 50 crore."
"He can then effectively execute his ideas. If he wants 5000 people in his crowd, he can get that. He doesn’t have to work around things and that is what is required. Both Akshay and I have been around in the industry for 20 years, whereas Subhash has just started his career and he needs a hit after Guddu Rangeela. I look at life in a different way. Lot of people are making up their own stories about how I am mourning, I’m heart-broken and disheartened but that is not true. I reject many movies for different reasons; like if I want to go on a holiday with my family, or maybe I don’t feel like working at that point of time," he says.
Arshad Warsi will be seen next in the role of an NIA investigator in his upcoming suspense thriller Irada, also featuring Naseeruddin Shah, Divya Dutta and Sagarika Ghatge. Directed by debutante Aparnaa Singh (story writer of Anurag Kashyap’s Gulaal), Irada was supposed to clash with Jolly LLB 2, but is now going to release one week later, on 17 February.
“I may sound a bit pompous but acting doesn’t bother me. I don’t look for any comfort place. I listen to the script and if I like it I do it whether it is the role of a cop, a murderer, a lawyer, a villain or a funny guy. But I want films to be entertaining. I don’t want to go to theatre thinking I have come to a hospital. I want to enjoy myself and that is what I wish for the audience,” he says.
According to Irada's leading lady Sagarika Ghatge, Naseeruddin Shah would be most happy on the sets with him around. Shah and Wasri had shared screen space in the 2001-release Mujhe Meri Biwi Se Bachaao, which not many know of. Their most famous films have been Ishqiya (2010) and Dedh Ishqiya (2014).
“I think Naseer enjoys my company. The first time I worked with him was in my second film, Mujhe Meri Biwi Se Bachaao. He was in his van and I went to say 'Hello' to him. He looked at me and before I could say anything he said, ‘Hey, you are a decent actor but what are you doing in this film?’ How I wish the third part of Ishqiya happens. Directors like Abhishek Chaubey bring the standard of films higher," he adds.
Talking about the Sanjay Dutt biopic, Warsi, who is a close friend of Dutt, said, “So far it is looking really good. Ranbir is outstanding. I have seen few pictures of his look and the older version looks exactly like Sanju, it’s unbelievable. I have also seen this little workshop where Ranbir has spoken in that typical Sanju style. Ranbir is so damn good.”
He's also gearing up for Golmaal 4, which starts in March and goes on till September. "Every sequel is a pressure like situation for me because as an actor it is essential for me to do as good as or better than the previous film. This is the fourth time we are doing it and I hope people love it," says Warsi.