When in 1996 the much-acclaimed film ‘Maachis’ hit the theatres, apart from its brilliant story, what the film did is catapulted a young, talented actor into the league of vivid visibility. Many filmmakers sat up and took ample notice of the man’s consummate acting skills and he was next seen in ‘Mohabbatein’; across two of the biggest superstars of the Hindi film industry – Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan. Twelve years down the line, Jimmy Sheirgill is a very well known name in the movie circuit – both in Hindi cinema as well as Punjabi ones.
The love-struck, boyishly handsome Karan of ‘Mohabbatein’ is now better known as the Saheb of ‘Sahib, Biwi aur Gangster’. In between, there have been many crests and troughs for Sheirgill, including a tough year as far as health is concerned. But once steady on the path to recovery, he’s making sure that he compensates for all the time that he’d lost owing to illness. As Jimmy gears up for his upcoming film ‘Rajdhani Express’, he is confident of himself, his performance and the like – but when asked about his expectations from the same, he doesn’t hesitate to add that he wouldn’t be able to say anything about that. Jam-packed shooting schedules have deprived him of the pleasure of seeing his work on celluloid and as of now, the actor hasn’t been able to watch ‘Rajdhani Express’.
With ‘Sahib, Biwi aur Gangster’, Jimmy has tasted immense success – both critically and otherwise. Says the actor, “I’d always decided to be selective about the kind of work that I do. One Punjabi film a year, and three or four good Hindi films: that’s all I really concentrate on in a year. Once ‘Sahib, Biwi aur Gangster’ was done, I worked for ‘Dangerous Ishhq’ with Vikram Bhatt. After that, I got into a bad case of illness – a serious spine/neck one – and I ended up losing a lot of time. I had to give up a lot of projects owing to the illness and the process of treatment. Towards the end of September that year, I began venturing out of the house. My doctor accompanied me during promotions. Vikram (Bhatt) ensured that I did not have to exert myself a lot; and I’m really thankful to him for that. With ‘Dangerous Ishhq’, I began regaining my confidence. During December/January last year, I was feeling a lot better. It took me almost a year to recover.”
“When ‘Dharti’ released in April 2011, I wasn’t able to enjoy its success. It was disheartening, but I went ahead with my other projects; Neeraj Pandey’s ‘Special Chabbis’ being one of them. Once that was done, I worked for ‘Sahib, Biwi aur Gangster 2’, ‘Rangeeley’ and ‘Bullet Raja’,” adds Jimmy.The actor’s upcoming film, director Ashok Kohli’s ‘Rajdhani Express’, revolves around a few people inside the Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani Express and what happens on board. There’s an element of thrill involved, and happenings inside the train end up shaking the entire political scenario in Mumbai. Sheirgill plays an officer who is assigned to sort the mess out. Says the actor, “I’d told Ashok Kohli that I wanted to complete the entire film in a go, and that’s what I eventually did.”
‘Rajdhani Express’ also marks ace tennis player Leander Peas’ foray into Hindi films. On asking Sheirgill about his experience of shooting with Paes, he says, “I haven’t had any scenes with Leander. However, from what Ashok (the director) has told me, he is a very sweet guy and a completely different person. Paes was very enthusiastic about the film and played a huge role in transferring his excitement on to his co-stars. He suited the character well – was innocent, and as a first-timer, he played his role well.”
Sheirgill’s sequences, however, were completely solo; at times joint ones with Mukesh Rishi. Jimmy reveals that he had a brilliant time while shooting for ‘Rajdhani Express’. “Working with Ashok was very smooth. The sequences were all adrenaline-packed, where one is constantly running against time. I was really comfortable with the shooting and it all appeared real in terms of my character,” narrates the actor.
January 4, 2013, when the film hits the theatres, Jimmy might already have moved on to his next set of films – for the man doesn’t know how to sit idle. Straddling the spheres of Hindi and Punjabi cinema, the actor has gained immense recognition for his honest and straight-forward portrayal of characters on screen. With his performance in the forthcoming ones too, Sheirgill sure will be able to charm his admirers and critics alike.