It’s hard to come by actors, who can pull off every genre — crime to comedy, with equal conviction and ease. The abundantly gifted Jimmy Sheirgill, who’s come a long way from Maachis and dished out films as assorted as A Wednesday, Yahaan, Saheb Biwi aur Gangster, says this is just the beginning. In a quick interview, the actor talks to Flickside about the kind of films he enjoys doing, what he thinks about the “underrated” tag, and more!
You’ve experimented with different genres/films. What is your favourite genre?
I enjoy light-hearted films. There’s so much pressure on you all the time and then you do these intense roles, it just adds up. Somewhere while making these lighter films, you laugh, have a good time, enjoy with your co-actors and then you make other people laugh. Vo baat alag hai ki (It’s another thing that) I’m always offered really intense, serious roles, and these roles and scripts are so good, one can’t say a no.
Where did it all begin? When did you know this was your thing? Did you always want to act?
Yes. When I went to Bombay for my acting classes I knew this is what I wanted to do. While here, I got to know that Gulzar saab was making a film (Maachis) and I went to meet him. I thought even if he took me in his team I would get to learn — direction, production or anything, as a student of cinema.
But somewhere he saw something in me and offered me one of the characters in the film. That’s where it all started.
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What is the toughest character you’ve played so far?
Quite a few. But the toughest was Saheb Biwi aur Gangster 2, where I was confined to a wheelchair. I wondered how much can one do. But Tigmanshu (Dhulia) was extremely confident that we’d work this out.
He assured me he would not make it look boring and I’ve always believed in him. Finally, when the film got made the kind of reviews we received from both the audiences and the critics were so encouraging.
One director you’d like to work with in the future?
I’ve worked with Tigmanshu, Anand Rai. Then there is Shoojit Sircar, Rahul Dholakia, Neeraj Pandey. These directors did their first films with me and I’m glad all of them are big filmmakers today. But Gulzar saab is someone I want to work with again. My first film (Maachis) was with him and I really wish he makes another film and I’m a part of it.
You’re one of the most versatile yet the most under-rated actors we have today…
I’d rather be called ‘underrated’ than someone who doesn’t deserve it. I feel good about it. I take it as a compliment.
Would you like to venture outside of acting, into writing or directing, maybe?
I’m thoroughly enjoying this phase where I’m doing these different characters. I think this is just the beginning. I would not want to venture into anything else as of now.
By Mansi Dutta
This is an old interview with Jimmy Sheirgill while he was in Delhi to promote one of his films. (Dated: 13/08/2014).