Anil Kapoor, Varun Dhawan and Kiara Advani on JugJuggJeeyo, marriage, divorce and family
Directed by Raj Mehta, the film will release in theatres on June 24
JugJugg Jeeyo is a family entertainer with a dose of drama. The Raj Mehta directorial that stars Anil Kapoor, Varun Dhawan, Kiara Advani and Neetu Kapoor, revolves around the themes of marriage, divorce, and family. Varun and Kiara play a couple on the verge of separation, as a wedding becomes an excuse for a family reunion when Varun’s character Kukoo Saini realises that his father Bheem (Anil Kapoor) too is considering divorce with his mother (Neetu Kapoor).
“Today, there is a Bheem everywhere, or everyone wants to become a Bheem,” says Anil Kapoor, cheekily. “Life is tough, these days, and there are many couples who are unhappy. Some keep thinking about it (divorce) while others do it.”
As divorce is still a taboo subject in our society, we ask the actor whether he believes there’s utility in continuing a toxic marriage for the sake of the family. “Absolutely not,” he stresses. “If two people are not happy, they should not be together. But I also feel that divorce is easier on men than women. Women are expected to sacrifice a lot for the family. It’s important for them to have a good support system of relatives and friends, so that it becomes easier for them to let go of a relationship.”
Varun believes that friendship is the most important component of a marriage. The actor, incidentally, married his childhood sweetheart, fashion designer Natasha Dalal, earlier this year. “One needs to know each other well before tying the knot. A couple should talk about things that are going to cause trouble later, so they can avoid unsolicited surprises.”
Varun has been a regular in family entertainers like Dilwale (2015), Badrinath ki Dulhania (2017) and Coolie No.1 (2020). He has also experimented with grim roles in Badlapur (2015) and October (2018). The Dhawan scion believes that the former genre attracts him. “I have grown up on films like Hum Aapke Hain Koun...! (1994), Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaenge (1995), Hum Saath Saath Hain (1999) and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001). I like the feeling of sitting in a theatre with friends and enjoying a film that makes you laugh while hitting all the emotional notes. The pressure, say between a Badrinath ki Dulhania and an October, is different. I learn from senior actors to keep the pressure in the pocket and not let it spill into performance,” he says.
Anil likes to ‘balance his performances’. “That’s how my career, spanning over 40 years, has played out. I did Ram Lakhan (1989) and Virasat (1997). Recently, I have done a Western noir like Thar, an over-the-top role in Malang (2019), and now I am doing JugJugg Jeeyo. I want to do commercial cinema, but I also want to experiment with my roles.”
Despite fresh stories and roles, the year has been a dud at the box office for Hindi cinema. Its Southern counterparts, meanwhile, have enjoyed incredible success both in content and commerce. “People want a good film,” says Varun. “It doesn’t matter if the said film is in Hindi or a South language or from across the border. After the pandemic, many films with outdated themes needed to be released. Even South cinema suffered flops. Having said that, I liked K.G.F 2 a lot, and I think Hindi cinema is also trying to expand its scale and come up with quality content.”
JugJugg Jeeyo marks Neetu Kapoor’s first film after the demise of her husband, superstar Rishi Kapoor. “She never let us feel the weight of the situation on the sets,” says Anil Kapoor, who is working with the actor for the first time. “She said she felt nervous while coming to the set without him (Rishi Kapoor),” adds Varun. “But once she started acting, she seemed so effortless, like a fish in water.”
Kiara, who plays Varun’s wife in the film, points out that she has some impactful scenes with Neetu. “There is a scene where our characters, a daughter-in-law and a mother-in-law, are interacting. Neetu ma’am got a monologue, and I remember that by the end of it, we both had tears in our eyes.”
Kiara, who hopes to have a ‘hit-trick’ after Kabir Singh and the latest Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, says JugJugg Jeeyo is a film with ‘repeat value’. “I have seen it multiple times during editing and dubbing. All the situational comedy, the emotional moments, the drama, and the jokes work! We are happy with how the film has turned out.” Varun agrees: “This happens very rarely. We are confident that the film will have a big Sunday.”
JugJugg Jeeyo, produced by Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions and Viacom18 Studios, will be out in theatres this Friday, June 24.