By: Joginder Tuteja, IndiaFM
Thursday, November 16, 2006
After spending a decade in the industry, Jimmy Shergill is the same young man with those drop dead good looks that would make any girl take him home to her parents. The man who is called upon at regular intervals by the biggest film makers in the country, Yash Raj Films [Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai, Mohabbatein and Hum Tum], Jimmy is now looking for that ONE BIG HIT that would make him stand up there with the stars in the top bracket.
Eminently likeable and a pleasant personality, Jimmy Shergill gets into this exclusive conversation to talk about some of his experiences with the industry in a decade old career and how is he looking forward to shaping it in a favorable manner!
Finally your Rehguzar is slated for release on November 17th. Don't you feel it has been delayed quite a bit?
Yes, no doubt around that! I did Rehguzar two years back and that was the time frame when we were expecting the film to be released. But after that certain issues cropped up internally and the release kept getting postponed. But then it's fine, things like these happen. One can just hope for a good release and expect people to like the film.
How has the film shaped up eventually?
It has turned out to be an interesting tale of people who flock to Middle-East in search of mega bucks and a luxurious life but just like there are two sides of a coin, the life there too is at two different extremes for them. If they turn lucky, they may succeed in life but then for some it's about sticking on to the country even if it is not paying them well.
And why is that so?
See, there have been so many stories about Asians who fly over to Middle East only to find that the life is not what they had assumed to be there. They spend some time there to earn some money and when they don't see that happening in a jiffy, they give the place some more time. Weeks lead to months and months lead to years and while their desire to earn more money for the well being of their family back home doesn't die down. Eventually it becomes a vicious circle and by the time they feel they are ready to get back, they realize how much they have lost in the years gone by. The very same daughter who was once a toddler has now become a young girl ready to get married. That's life!
So how does your character fight all such battles?
I also play a young ambitious man who is out in search for a good life but then at his own terms. He is willing to work hard on a foreign land but isn't willing to compromise for the lure of a better well being. And guess what? Eventually he makes it at his own terms!
The metamorphosis may have been an exciting twist to the tale.
Yes indeed, it is. This is the reason two extreme sides of Dubai are shown in the film. One is that of a low-market dark world where everything seems improbable and a better life seems like a fallacy while the other is an up-market rich glitzy world where luxuries are the order of the day. This portion of the film has been treated in a lavish manner and that would reflect on the screen.
With the kind of positives that you mention about the film, isn't that ironic that the film releases without any hype?
That's sad but then what can one do when issues crop up during the film's production? I agree that the interest of people does die down when a film gets delayed for long but still I am hopeful that my performance would be noticed. I am happy as long as I am doing something worthwhile and experimenting constantly.
Experimenting is something that you have been doing off late, isn't that so?
Yeah, true. Yahaan was an experiment and I am glad that I did that. The film has indeed proved to be a turning point of my career. It was a classy film and got me a lot of recognition.
But even you must be craving for much more than just recognition?
[Says honestly] If you are asking me whether I am aspiring for that one massy solo hit then the answer is 'Yes'. If you are asking me whether I would love to have some hit massy song-n-dance routines added to my profile as a leading man then that's true too. I would love to have that BIG HIT to my name, why not?
And in the meanwhile you have your performance oriented roles to keep you in circulation, right?
That's right. If you look at Bas Ek Pal recently, it was truly a performance oriented role. There was a lot of heart and soul that went into the film and it is sad that the final product didn't really run well. Call it wrong release timing or audience not liking the subject, the bottom-line is that effort of an entire cast and crew went unnoticed.
Ironically your small part in Lage Raho Munnabhai did get noticed.
After Munnabhai MBBS when Lage Raho Munnabhai was offered to me, I said why not? I knew that even if this was a small part, it was worth it. More so since even Rajkumar Hirani said on TV that he'd like to give me a chunky role after this film. Even if I look at some of my other performance oriented films like Maachis and Haasil in the past, I am proud of them all!
But are you proud of Tom Dick and Harry?
[Smiles] See, some films are made as commercial entertainers and I am happy that the film was a success and made money.
From your performances, let's talk about your look now. It seems that you are still a decade old Jimmy with no change whatsoever in your personality.
[Laughs] Well, I won't really say that. I believe the look has indeed changed. Somewhere in the middle of my career, I started donning a deglamorised look since I wanted to move away from the chocolate boy look that I was being identified with. For example in a film like Haasil, I was this small town boy who obviously couldn't be seen in fancy clothing. This look was carried on till Yahaan where I was an Army officer. Then I started doing some glamour oriented roles like those in and changed my look which carries on till Eklavya.
Talking about Silisilay, one question that always pops up in mind is that why did you have to take that minor role? That was a choice I made. In fact when director Khalid Mohammad approached me, he was honest enough to tell me that it he wasn't offering me a great part that could be termed as performance oriented, but then he had devised it keeping me in mind. That was good enough for me. I agree that the film came and went but the music by Himesh Reshammiya was a big hit and is heard even today.
Meanwhile your Punjabi film career seems to be really flourishing.
Oh yes, and I am absolutely proud about the kind of opening and a sustained run that my last year's release Yaaran Naal Bahaaran enjoyed. I believe that as a Punjabi, it's my responsibility to be doing Punjabi films on a constant basis and it's a promise I have made to myself. Recently my Mannat too got released and it is still playing in Punjab. I am currently in process of signing a new Punjabi film and have to decide between 2-3 scripts that I have.
So what else do we expect from Jimmy in future?
[Laughs] Lots! I have Eklavya coming up early next year and the film is a different journey altogether for me. Then there is a film called Strangers about which I am quite excited. It is directed by Anand Rai who has done a fantastic job. The film has Kay Kay and me as strangers who are brought together by destiny. Dilip Sood's Chodho Na Yaar is another interesting subject about one guy searching for 2 of his missing friends. Set in Manali, it has a lot of 'masti' in the first half while the second half becomes equally eerie and scary. It is one good slick 2 hours film. Shooting for the film is done and we are targeting 3-4 months of post production. Ditto for Khafa which is in the process of being digitally mastered. Also, I have recently signed Victoria No. 203 which brings me back with my Dil Vil Pyaar Vyaar director Anant Mahadevan.
And how about your big film Raqeeb?
It is a romantic thriller produced by Raj Kanwar. What I really liked was the way the subject was narrated to me. It comes across as a very massy subject and what is interesting about my character is that there would be a lot of 'ceetis' and 'taalis' whenever he comes on screen [laughs]. The film has some very good music and has Rahul Khanna, Sharman Joshi and Tanushree Dutta.
So, is this a triangular or a quadrangular love story?
No, I won't say that. [Smiles] Now don't ask me for more because even if I utter one line about the plot, the fun would be lost. What I can tell you is that the film is almost ready with just about a day or two of work left. Currently Rahul is abroad and as soon as he is back on 11th/12th of this month, we would be able to wrap up the film.
Even Yashraj Films have roped you in for multiple films but off late you don't really feature in their future plans.
Yes, there have been Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai, Mohabbatein and Hum Tum and I am sure that even in future if they have something good for me, they would call me. I am pretty confident about that.