Jimmy Sheirgill on Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 3: 'Tigmanshu Dhulia has groomed me as an actor'
Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 3 marks Jimmy Sheirgill's sixth collaboration with director Tigamnshu Dhulia, who chose the actor for his debut film Haasil as well.
When it came to their debut films, ace directors like Rajkumar Hirani, Shoojit Sircar, Neeraj Pandey and Tigmanshu Dhulia opted for Jimmy Sheirgill. That more or less sums up the importance that Jimmy enjoys in Bollywood. The youthful and the boy-next-door looks of Sheirgill is a red herring. Hidden behind the look, is a seasoned actor just shy of three years ,of completing his silver jubilee in the fickle world of Bollywood – a no mean achievement, where actors arrive in dozens but most recede to oblivion.
This Friday, Jimmy is all set to relive a character which he believes has been a game changer in his career. The actor is all set to reprise the character of Saheb for the third time in Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 3, the deceit and treachery saga woven around the world of lost royalty. Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 3 also marks his sixth association with director Tigmanshu Dhulia. Jimmy maintains that his rapport with Tigmanshu is a special one. “We have been friends for a very long time. Haasil was a great beginning and we followed with Charas. Then came a long gap and then we did the three SBG series. Now the bonding is such that if he is explaining things on the set, midway I can read his mind. The satisfaction that I get while doing a Tigmanshu film is something that I don’t get elsewhere. He has groomed me as an actor.”
Hailing from the same region could be one factor that binds the actor and director together. While Jimmy has his roots in Gorakhpur, Tigmanshu’s native Allahabad is not very far. He vividly remembers the occasion when he met Tigmanshu for the first time which was just before the release of Mohabbatein. The debut meeting took place at Shaad Ali’s place and Sameer Sharma, brother of casting director Shanoo Sharma, was instrumental in bringing both of them together. “He had given me the narration of Haasil at Shaad’s place and was candid enough to admit that the story was primarily written for his friend Irrfan Khan. He was extremely honest when he admitted that the role was a second fiddle but also maintained that if the secondary role fails to work, Irrfan’s role too won’t work in the film.” It was also a phase when Jimmy was over committed with his film assignments and shot for Haasil during the breaks that his other films allowed. The debut film of Tigmanshu also showed his desperation as he agreed to every condition that Jimmy put forward.
Jimmy believes that the role of Aditya Pratap Singh, the feudal lord from the Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster series has been a game changer for his film career and has given him an opportunity to portray myriad shades of life. “If only it were possible, I would love to shoot Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster every three months. The character has now become a part of me and the only requirement for me to play this role is to grow my moustache. That’s the only time frame that’s required for me to get into the skin of the character,” says an excited Jimmy.
The 22 years that Jimmy has spent in the industry speak volumes about his acting prowess and his films are proof of his versatility. From a terrorist, to a lover, to a henchman, to a political goon – he has played it all. But despite the fame and accolades, he has always shunned the limelight and has resisted the urge of flaunting his work. “It not that I have not sought limelight in the past. I tried a lot through my PR agents but could not crack the code and then gave up. I said to myself that if I can spend more than two decades in the industry, then future should not be difficult. I have reached a stage where I feel secure only once I have reached my home after I am done with my shoot.”
Despite being part of some cult films like Maachis, Haasil, Munna Bhai MBBS, A Wednesday and Tanu Weds Manu, and a certified superstar in Canada, truth be told that Jimmy is yet to receive his due. “I would like to take this as a huge compliment. From the beginning itself, I have taken huge risks. I still remember when I signed Munna Bhai MBBS, it was also a phase when I was busy doing solo and two-hero projects, and most of them worked too. I only did the film thinking the fact that the biggest stars of Hollywood, be it Brad Pitt or Tom Hanks often do films which require them to appear in just four scenes. At that time people had discouraged me from doing such films and then later I made promised myself that irrespective of the length of the character, if it appeals to me, I will surely do it.” Jimmy was offered films which had him in lead roles but the fact that the secondary role appealed to him much more made him forfeit those films.
His sharp eyes came in handy again when Anurag Kashyap sent him the script of Mukkabaaz. At script level, he found his character of Bhagwan Das a superficial one. “When I discussed the plot with Anurag, he also accepted the fact that the role is yet to be carved out and wanted to make the character a lethal one. Anurag wanted me to wear contact lenses in both my eyes but it was I who suggested him that may be the guy has a background story and one of his eye was injured during a boxing match, and now is in a state of frustration. This really worked and the excitement was visible in Anurag’s body language while shooting.”
Jimmy’s hunger to do meaty and meaningful roles can take him to any extent. He has no qualms in approaching directors to ask for roles. “I read this news few days back that Anurag is planning a sequel to Gangs of Wasseypur, you have actually given me a reason to call him. I will call him after this interview and ask him about my role in his film.” Touché.
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