Be it a corrupt police officer in Jolly LLB 2 (2017) or a ruthless lawyer in No One Killed Jessica (2011) Avijit Dutt has always played characters that leave a lasting impression. Presently working on a solo play, Dutt says that being in Delhi helps him dabble in both theatre and films with ease. “The advantage of being in Delhi is you can reject films that don’t work with your politics,” says the actor.
Recollecting his portrayal of police commissioner in the Jolly sequel, he says he agreed to take it up because of the character’s relevance to the script. But the story behind the acceptance of this role isn’t known to many. “My daughter, Avalokita, works in Bollywood and never tells anybody whose daughter she is. When the director of the film, Subhash Kapoor, said to her that he was looking for me, she said to her, ‘If you want to know, he’s my father.’ So Subhash and my daughter came to Delhi to narrate the script and I found it fantastic. For the first time, we had the credits at the beginning of the film as father and daughter and that was wonderful.”
It isn’t always the depth of character that excites Dutt, sometimes it’s the possibility of fanboy moments. “I accepted 2.0 (2017) (the second in the Robot installment) because it was just the curiosity of meeting with this man — Rajinikanth,” says Dutt. “I was just a fanboy and he (Rajinikanth) was such a wonderful human. The first time we met, he talked about how he had seen my films, he meant No One Killed Jessica (2011), and then we talked about the Himalayas. You know, he goes up to the Himalayas every year, incognito. Also, when I was told that the character is the head of ISRO, and it (the film) starts off with my long dialogue with Rajinikanth – I said let’s try it… Besides, I had to also learn three pages of Tamil script that was incredibly difficult!”
On sets he was enjoying playing a grey-haired character, but off sets, he had to change his hair colours. Dutt, who was shooting simultaneously for Akshay Kumar starrer-Jolly LLB 2, says, “In Jolly… I was doing a completely negative character, with black hair and in 2.0, I was acting with my own grey hair. So, I had to keep switching hair colours. That was horrible! Whatever little hair I had have been already sacrificed to that experience.” A hearty laughs follow his statement.
But he doesn’t accept every role that comes his way. “A very big director gave me a film where I had just two scenes, both with Ranbir (Kapoor), but the character wasn’t doing anything, so I said, ‘forget it.’ And I asked myself later, if I was right in rejecting a big film? But I think I did the right thing,” says Dutt talking about the film: Dutt – a biopic on actor Sanjay Dutt.
Though the actor didn’t agree to be a part of the film, yet he says, “I spent a lot of time with Sunil Dutt. Dutt saab and I travelled for three months for 27 thousand kilometers, for the peace mission across south Asia. I really loved that man. We were on this journey called the peace mission and were stopped right at the border of Pakistan because Kargil war (1999) went up. Life is full of these amazing ironies. Isn’t it?”