Crediting writer Abhay Pannu, Jim Sarbh discusses his Emmy nomination for Rocket Boys and his co-contenders in the category
Jim Sarbh, Abhay Pannu and Ishwak Singh
It’s one thing to gain nation-wide acclaim, but when one is acknowledged worldwide, the overwhelming feeling is different. That is exactly how Jim Sarbh felt when he bagged an Emmy nomination for his performance in Rocket Boys. “It was a special project,” he says upon learning that he was nominated in the Best Actor category. “From the earliest iterations of the script and conversations with Nikkhil Advani [creator] and Abhay Pannu [writer-director], I was excited to be involved with a project of this magnitude, scale, and concept. The show centred around the lives of two scientists working in a newly birthed India, helping to create the building blocks for our country’s future. The script was sharp, dramatic, funny, and tremendously interesting,” he says of the SonyLIV series that aired its second season in March this year.
Grateful to Pannu for bringing to life the poignant story of Dr Homi Bhabha, who was “a scientist, first and foremost, but he was also a painter, a violinist, an architect [he designed most of his institutes], a diehard supporter of the arts, a loyal friend, and a charming partner”, he says, “I had complete faith in Abhay Pannu. The role was endlessly fascinating, challenging, and rewarding to work on. Abhay and I would discuss what it means to be a genius, to think faster and deeper than most other people, and how to accurately capture that in both my performance and his presentation within the context of the show. I wish I could take all the credit for my performance, but half of Homi Bhabha’s is definitely Abhay Pannu’s.” Sarbh also acknowledges the producers, Emmay Entertainment and Roy Kapur Films, for believing in the subject matter, the platform, the research team, and “every acting teacher that I worked with has helped me reach wherever I am, along with countless mentors.”
While he has not yet seen Gustavo Bassani and Jonas Karlsson’s works, Sarbh is well-versed with his co-contender Martin Freeman. “I have followed his career for many years and love his work. I greatly admire his ability to represent an underdog, an everyman, with so much grace, depth, bravery in the face of sadness, quiet charisma, and humour. He always has me rooting for his character,” says the actor, while giving a shout out to “Shefali Shah and the funny, vir bahadur Vir Das” for also bagging nominations.