Jimmy Sheirgill: In Chambal, each household has a gun!

Jimmy Sheirgill is one of the stars of the multi-starrer Phamous, released on June 1st this year. Speaking exclusively to Karnataka Today’s Cindrella Daryani, Sheirgill revealed that he loves doing light roles, but takes pride in his portrayal of serious characters that have uncut edges and more.

Jimmy Sheirgill is ready and waiting to see the success of his multi-starrer film Phamous, which will hit the screens on June 1.

Phamous – in British English, Famous - is actually a soon-to-be-released Hindi romantic crime drama directed by Karan Lalit Butani and produced by Raj Khatri, Vidisha Productions and Amitabh Chandra. The key to the film is its stars - Jimmy Sheirgill of course, Shriya Saran, Kay Kay Menon, Pankaj Tripathi, Jackie Shroff and Mahie Gill. The Film will be in theatres in India on June 1, 2018. The official trailer of the movie has been doing the rounds on YouTube since April 26, 2018.

The power struggle between the four principal characters of the film forms the basis for the storyline of Phamous. Importantly, it is set in the famous (for dacoits) Chambal region of Madhya Pradesh. The film portrays a young man juggling between power and love and summarises the effect of the Badlands on its residents.

"Phamous" is the third Indian film to be shot in the Chambal region and Sheirgill hopes that it will be most Phamous of the three.

A Punjabi Sikh, Jimmy Sheirgill embarked on his acting career with the Bollywood film Maachis in 1996. Today, he is one of the more popular actors in Punjab with several hits to his name. Bollywood fans and bigwigs alike first sat up and took notice of him when he was cast in Aditya Chopra’s Mohabbatein and thereafter he has been a part of several successful Bollywood movies.


"Phamous" is an attempt to make a western genre movie and this genre is not much explored in Indian cinema. So, how and why did you choose to do this movie?

When I was working with Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster (SBG) Part one and two, then Bullet Raja, Karan Butani was his assistant director. One day while shooting SBG part two, Karan told me that he is working on a story, which he wants to treat as a western genre film, now that was the icing on the cake! I chose this film because of the director Karan Butani. I was quite familiar and comfortable with his work-style so I didn’t think twice about signing the film Phamous.

In addition, any directors’ work is half done when he finalises the cast of the film. Such film scripts come occasionally and if veteran actors get convinced to do a western film this itself is an answer to how peculiar this story and movie can be!

Do you think that western genre movies are consistent with guns, power and dacoits? Also, do you think that this genre needs some reinvention or renovation?

You will certainly see a variance in this film. The movie is neither on a gangster nor a dacoit in fact, does it have a slice of dark humour. There is a huge message at the end of the movie. The movie shadows the interaction between human temperament and relationship in a violent atmosphere such as prevails in the Chambal.

Shooting in the Chambal valley proved fortunate for the movies like Bandit Queen and Paan Singh Tomar. Both the movies were bio-pics and won national awards. Do you think the Chambal valley magic will work for Phamous too?

I really hope so! Phamous is fictional and not a biopic. In the trailer, you will see more of guns and its clamour, but the movie has more to show you and will keep you engaged. So far the trailer has received a good response from the audience.

We are quite confident that the film will do well. Besides, we are very eager to hear from the film critics and the audience.

Also, it is entirely shot in Chambal and this region is the torch-bearer of the movie. From dawn to dusk, the movie has captured the beauty of the region; its topography to its interiors. The movie revolves around life in the Chambal valley and will lose its essence if it is removed from it.

Today also, Chambal is popularly known as the land of dacoits. What was your experience? How do you see this region today in the age of development and digitalisation?

I would say that it was a land of dacoits. Being a small village, each household keeps a gun for their protection.

Despite the odd timings of shooting, our film crew received a very good welcome and support from the local people, barring one incident that shook the entire film crew. On that day, we were shooting at mid-night and the film set was structured outside a villager’s house and that irked him. He didn’t want us to shoot at midnight with a crew of 80 to 100 people gathered outside his house. He came outside and pointed a gun at one of the film crew. We cajoled and convinced him of the need to shoot at that unearthly hour. All’s well that ends well.

In many of your movies, we have seen you playing intense roles of a cop, politician, police officer etc., and a few light-hearted roles. Do these characters take a lot of energy? Does it affect your emotional quotient?

When I am doing intense roles I look for perfection in performance. In that sense, it does affect the way I think. The stress comes from portraying the character in a particular way consistently through the movie. I think about how I should portray the character in a particular shot, and then worry if it’s the right way. Whereas while acting in light roles, I am spontaneous and it is stress-free.

Most of your movie roles don’t have a happy ending– they often die or drop off mid-way. Would you like to comment on that? And is there a reason you often choose off-beat roles?

Many a time, directors approach me with a central character, and I end up choosing another character after reading a script. My concern is to do different roles whenever I am signing a new film hence, I don’t mind doing smaller roles, but the role must interest me artistically.

These days PM Modi has initiated a campaign ‘Hum Fit Toh India Fit’. How do you take it? What are your fitness goals?

It is a good initiative by the PM. People today are getting more conscious about their fitness than they were earlier. The kind of stress level that is there in film industry, I believe is not there in any other industry. Actors have to stay fit and appealing. While shooting a film, we can’t afford to look blue.

My fitness goals and roles are quite simple. I feel my day is incomplete without an hour of yoga as well as half an hour of running in the evening. My diet includes home-made food. I prefer to snack sparingly in the gaps between meals. I am mostly vegetarian. I eat a lot of soybeans for protein and prefer to eat brown rice instead of white. However, I do consume at least two eggs a day, and a little chicken a day for protein, that’s all.

In one of your upcoming movies, you are working with Amitabh Bachchan. Can you tell us what it is like working with the Big B?

I have worked with him in several movies and I absolutely enjoyed it. Amit uncle is an amazing person and his persona breaks the boundaries of the frame. Coming together with him in one frame has always been special for me.

Many TV actors are now trying to enter Bollywood. Does this affect the experienced actors in any way – maybe losing out on good roles? How do you take this competition?

I do not take it as a competition. There is enough for everyone in this industry. All roles are not suited to all actors and each has his own talent and persona that he brings to the table. No one can take anyone’s share. There are many opportunities to act. Now even new concepts like web series are working well and there are many actors who are doing it today.

Which is your favourite genre of movies? What kind of characters would you like to play in the future?

I like watching thrillers and serious stuff. But, I love doing comedy films and light-hearted roles. Whenever such films come to me, I grab them! In that case, I manage my other film dates and do it. Such kinds of movies are relaxing and cheer you up.

What are your upcoming projects?

My upcoming films include Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster part three which is set to release on July 27 and Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi which is releasing on August 24 and this time Sonakshi Sinha will be the part of this film.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Karnatakatoday.com and Karnatakatoday.com does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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