Ready with his new series Your Honor, Jimmy Sheirgill on how the web offers more creative satisfaction than films
One of the most underrated actors of Bollywood, Jimmy Sheirgill is steadily shifting gears to digital entertainment. His upcoming web series, Your Honor, on SonyLIV sees him play a righteous judge who is compelled to compromise his principles when his son's life is on the line. The actor, in a chat with mid-day, discusses why he finds comfort in the OTT world and his desire to explore comedy.
Edited excerpts from the interview.
How did Your Honor land in your kitty?
I had my first narration during the filming of Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi (2018); even though [the script] was at a nascent stage, I loved the idea. When I finally received the full script, I was on board. The director [E Niwas] was apprehensive that I would refuse to play the father of an 18-year-old as I would have to look older on screen. I reminded him that I would be perfect for the role because I am a father to a 16-year-old in real life, so I would not have [to age] on screen. Nonetheless, we tried out various looks for my character before settling on the one you see in the show.
How much of the Israeli original, Kvodo, is retained in the Indian adaptation?
This series is set in India, where the laws are different. So, the show is culturally different and adapted to the milieu.
You seem to have found your feet in digital entertainment.
I have done only one other series, Rangbaaz Phirse, where I played a dramatically different character from what I've done in films. While shooting for Your Honor, I realised that unlike in films where you have only two hours to tell a story, the digital medium offers enough space to every character. It allows actors to get into the skin of the character. [Digital entertainment] is the future, even though it may take us a while to reach that level.
Has the visibility through web shows helped your Bollywood game?
I still get a few offers in Bollywood, but things have changed in the digital space. The only [disadvantage] is that when you take up a show, it is pivotal to dedicate a few months to it. When I took up Rangbaaz, I had to sport a certain look, which made it difficult to take up any other projects. In the process, I may have lost some good opportunities. That said, it is not difficult to take up two projects at a time. But in handling two projects simultaneously, I won't be able to do justice to the character.
Given that you've played a number of serious characters, do you get irked when people stereotype you?
In the beginning, I picked up offers as they came. Then a shift happened — I was being offered serious roles that added to the narrative. Even though a part of me felt I was picking the right kind of films and moving on from the song-and-dance trope, I was conflicted back then. Today, I am glad about my choices. I don't miss playing the romantic hero because I've done that in Punjabi films. Now, I am keen to explore comedy after De De Pyaar De.
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