I never wanted to be a writer: Saurabh Shukla on his jolly good career

In an interview with, Saurabh Shukla spoke about juggling multiple hats of writing, directing and acting, finding the right scripts, and why he never intended to be a writer. 

Shriram Iyengar

For many people, Saurabh Shukla is one of the many faces that can fit any role. From the lovable gangster Kallu Mama in Satya (1998) to the judge in the Jolly LLB franchise, Shukla has delivered performances that are subdued but effective. For someone who has spent almost 25 years in the industry, Shukla has only now found the freedom to choose his roles. In an interview with, the writer, actor, director and playwright opened up on his stage and screen career.

"I never wanted to be a writer," Shukla said, "I only wanted to make films." Having spent some time with the National School of Drama's repertory company, Shukla arrived in Mumbai to find his way in the film world. However, the break did not come easily. He made a name for himself working on the serial, Tehkikaat, with Vijay Anand. It was in 1998 that his fate well and truly changed. Satya, co-written by Shukla himself and the struggling Anurag Kashyap, changed the trajectory of Indian cinema in many ways. "We were young," Shukla said. "All we wanted to do was make this film." 

Today, Shukla has emerged as one of the most trusted character actors in the industry. His performances in Barfi! (2012), Jolly LLB (2013) and PK (2014) have set him apart. He won the National award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as the sardonic judge in Jolly LLB. He replayed the character in the sequel, Jolly LLB 2 (2017). 

With time, Shukla has become a doyen of both theatre and films. Asked how he manages both art forms, he retorted, "I have only one life, and I plan to do everything I can."