My character is significant in Jolly LLB 2, says actor Inaamulhaq

This is the actor's second film with Akshay Kumar after Airlift (2016).

Keyur Seta

There were quite a few memorable characters in Akshay Kumar’s Airlift (2016), the Iraqi major with his peculiar mannerism and voice being one. The character was essayed by talented bloke Inaamulhaq. This was his first film in two years after his impressive act in Filmistaan (2014). The actor will now be seen in Akshay Kumar’s next release, Jolly LLB 2. In an exclusive chat with, Inaamulhaq spoke about his experience of starring again with the Khiladi and his method of creating his character in Airlift. Excerpts:

What character are you playing in Jolly LLB 2 and how important is it to the main storyline?

If I tell you about my exact character, it will be a spoiler (laughs). But my character is very important. It is not lengthy. I believe a character can only be good or bad. But I guarantee that it is significant. It brings a turn in the film. It is a pleasure to do another film with Akshay [Kumar]. I had worked with him even in my last film, Airlift (2016). He keeps praising my work. He was happy when Subhashji [Kapoor, director of Jolly LLB 2] told him that I am part of the film. You can easily make out if a person is praising you genuinely.

Can you recall any funny or memorable moment with Akshay Kumar during the shoot?

The name of the film is applicable to Akshay. He is very jolly. He respects the other actors. There is continuous laughter on the sets when he is around. It is not possible to pinpoint a single incident. But he comes up with interesting things. Once he comes out of his vanity van in the morning, he will return either only during lunch or after pack-up. Even if they are lighting the set for a couple of hours, he will remain on the set. He will either play cards or chit-chat. He is a big example of discipline. I feel even if we absorb 10% of his discipline, our lives would change. He respects time, which everyone does not. We get to learn from him. And he has no problems learning from us. 

The film also stars your close pals Kumud Mishra and Manav Kaul. The three of you have done theatre together. 

There is a comfort zone when you work with close friends. You are not required to put in efforts to make new friends on the sets. This is my fifth film with Kumudbhai. All three of us have a great rapport and we understand each other well. We know how the other would react. It generates a positive impact overall. It also helps in taking suggestions. For example, I even share my look with them on WhatsApp to get their views.

You played an Iraqi major in Airlift. You had no reference point for the character. It seems you have added your own inputs in his way of talking, mannerisms and behaviour. Is that true?

Yes, they were all my inputs. The only brief I was given was that he is an Iraqi major who struggles to speak Hindi. I have a different process of moulding each of my characters. It is not necessary that I use the same process for every character. There was no existing reference for this one. He wasn’t a real, historical figure. So, to make it unique, I added my inputs. 

In Airlift with Akshay Kumar

How did you specifically think of these mannerisms and language for the character of the major?

The main concern is language when you are adapting a person from a different language. You need to take into account the sound and pronunciation. You need to replace them with other sounds and pronunciations. Basically, it’s not an art; it’s mathematics. For example, I realized that they write ‘Bebsi’ instead of ‘Pepsi’ in Arabic in the UAE. When I asked the reason, I was told there is no ‘P’ sound in Arabic. Just like some people say ‘Fassfort’ instead of ‘Passport.’ Once you realize which sound to replace with which, it becomes easy. I saw some Iraqi documentaries to know the situation at that time. I was only 11 when Iraq was invaded, so I don’t recollect anything, except thanks to the internet. We took quite long to create that character. 

You have also written films and TV shows. Are you focusing more on acting these days?

Definitely my household has been running because of my acting. Now the writing work is slowly fading out. I am getting more acting offers. I am not getting much time to write. But I will resume once I get a break from acting. 

We are often told that there is a dearth of good writers. Do you agree?

This is a myth that has been spread over the years, mostly by those who wish to take credit both as writer and director. There are very good writers who are roaming around with good scripts. But they are not able to meet the right people. The right people are surrounded by a lot of people who don’t let you get near.

Also see: This is the best time for a good actor, says Manav Kaul

I feel there has to be a platform, be it a website or agency, where writers can submit their scripts, from where makers can select them. Writers will get a platform while makers will get good scripts. This is what is lacking in India. I too have roamed around after writing a good script. The right person is not even aware that someone is trying to reach him. Films will turn out to be good only if the writing is good.

Unfortunately, writing is considered the least important here. And then they complain that there are no good writers in India. There has never been a dearth of good writers in our country. This is a myth which needs to be destroyed. 

Do you have any other film in the pipeline? Were you offered a few after Airlift?

I got quite a few offers after Airlift. But I only wish to be part of good films. I acted in Chidiya which was ready last year. I have also done DNA Mein Gandhiji, which is also ready. I am shooting two other films but I can’t speak about them now as they haven’t made it official. So, hopefully, I will star in five films releasing this year. 

Why is there such a big gap between your films?

I wish to do good films and you don’t get offered good films daily. People keep saying that if you don’t do enough films, you will vanish. I don’t agree with this. I feel when the right thing comes at the right time, people again start remembering you. I didn’t have a release for a year and a half after Filmistaan. People told me I would be forgotten. This proved true to some extent because after six months, people forgot Filmistaan and Inaamulhaq. But after Airlift was released, people were reminded of me again. Good work makes you alive once again. I am not in a hurry. The good thing is that I have learnt how to say no, which is very important.

Last time when we spoke, you had said you purposely keep away from watching plays because it makes you eager to do theatre, which is not a good source of income. Do you still do that?

I have continued that. I am not watching plays. I am also not getting time. I will make a comeback in theatre after some time. But I would do it with all my heart and not out of any compulsion. If I do it right now, it will be out of compulsion.