Jimmy Sheirgill interview: I approach every character with sincerity and honesty
In 1996, when actor Jimmy Sheirgill made his debut in Gulzar’s Maachis, he made critics and audiences sit and take notice of his performance as Jaimal Singh aka Jimmy, a young boy who ends up picking guns while seeking revenge. In a career spanning over two decades, Jimmy has 150 films to his credit with some experimental roles and noteworthy performances. From thrillers to romance and comedy, the actor continues to excel in every role he essays. His last outing was De De Pyaar De where he played a cameo in a comic role, and now the actor is making a complete shift with his upcoming thriller, Collar Bomb, where he will be seen playing the lead role as a police officer. Directed by Dnyanesh Zoting, Collar Bomb is set to release on Disney+Hotstar on July 9. Ahead of the release, the actor speaks with us about his role, the OTT space, the process of making a shift from comedy to thrillers and how he has maintained himself.
Tell us about Collar Bomb and your role in the film, and how you got associated with the project?
Collar Bomb is a thriller. It’s a race against time. It involves a hostage situation in a school. But the unfolding of a parallel story is what is going to be the USP of the film. I was sent a script way before the pandemic and when I read it, I had some points to be worked out and then the lockdown happened. When I received the final script I loved the way the story took a complete U-turn after a few pages. Once the lockdown was partially lifted we went to Himachal and shot the film in a couple of months.
How did you prepare for this role?
I am playing a cop, so as an actor the only important point was to look different from the others. The team had done really good work on detailing as far as my character was concerned. I did a lot of readings to understand the character and its nuances.
How do you select your projects and how difficult or easy it is to make the shift from comedy to serious roles?
The script is important. I like to sit with the writer and director to understand what they are looking for because it is important to understand their point of view. I read the script several times to understand it better. In some cases, if I feel the character is different than the ones I have done before, I would just say yes. As far as making a shift is concerned, it doesn’t happen overnight. After several readings and understanding the character, I work on the look and the approach. I go through this complete process.
So far, which roles have challenged you the most?
There have been so many films and roles that have been challenging. Every role is different from the other and as an actor, I try to make them look different, so technically, every role is challenging. I go with sincerity and honesty and then the rest is on the audience and how they take it.
Many of your parallel actors say this is the best time to be in the industry, in terms of roles and content. What are your views on this?
I feel the same, especially with OTT there are interesting stories and characters. People are coming up with a lot of different stuff. As an actor, I think it’s very exciting when you see the story is different and the characters turn out to be different. Directors are doing unusual casting that helps break the typical image of the characters.
How have you evolved as an actor?
It’s difficult to say. I still try to learn from every film and every shot. I still sit and watch my shots and think if I could have done it some other way. I take every film and every scene as a learning experience.
Do you think this approach has helped you sustain yourself in the industry?
I don’t think there is any mantra to it. I thank god for the way things have happened. But yes, I think you have to adapt to all kinds of situations because each film is shot with different actors, crew and with different sensibilities, you have to adapt to it and go with the flow.
Lastly, how do you stay in good shape?
Thanks to the lockdown (laughs). I got a lot of time for myself and my family. I was working hard and ignored health the most in the process. It’s like we plan to start working out or do yoga from next month but that next month never comes. I realised that it’s important for me to look after my health and the pandemic has taught me this. I try to be more disciplined now than I was before.