The Cu­ri­ous Case of jim sarbh


Meet­ing JIM SARBH at a lo­cal eatery on a windy evening was quite un­for­get­ful. Since his de­but film Neerja, he has en­sured in his own in­im­i­cal way that he doesn’t fade away from the spot­light and pub­lic mem­ory. And he did that for the in­ter­view too. Through­out the in­ter­view, he com­pletely ‘roasted’ the in­ter­viewer. From points where deci­ble lev­els were given a damn to dis­cussing about his white pants and hair­style, to telling me how to write my piece and mak­ing me swear on my un­born child, this man spoke and how! Pre­sent­ing to you Jim ‘ec­cen­tric’ Sarbh. Read on…

Can you share five in­ter­est­ing things that the world doesn’t know about you?

Why would I want to? I don’t care yaar. I like to act, I am an ac­tor. Who gives a f**k about my per­sonal life. Watch my films and theatre, that’s what I care about. I hate this idea that an ac­tor is judged by their per­sonal life. My per­sonal life is my stupid per­sonal life. You don’t know who the f**k I am? So how does it mat­ter? It is my true con­cern, I am not try­ing to at­tack you.

I have read your in­ter­views, done my re­search and I know there are things which you want to show the world and some which you don’t. So why do you feel the el­e­ment of intrusion?

What hap­pens in the world in gen­eral and also in Bollywood, the char­ac­ters be­come a big deal. I am like why? What if the most in­ter­est­ing thing is that I like to sit in one room with one yoga mat on the floor and some­times, I sleep and then stare at the

wall for hours. But if my per­for­mance is good, who cares!

There are a lot of big stars in B-town who have roles tai­lored to their per­son­al­ity off screen. As an ac­tor, what do you think is your USP?

I don’t know. You tell me what is it? What are the nor­mal stan­dards? I feel you should be flex­i­ble and take the mould of the role. Make sure you write the com­plete ques­tion and then write my an­swer. Oth­er­wise, I’ll pub­licly dis­ap­prove of this in­ter­view and say she is ly­ing! I want you to write all of this in the in­ter­view. Swear on your life, on your un­born child.

You’ve ear­lier said that you don’t be­lieve in bi­na­ries. But the in­dus­try has proved that it does. Does this make it dif­fi­cult to get di­verse roles?

I don’t know yet. I don’t think I am bank­able in the same way yet. Un­til I am at that point, I won’t get roles which I can choose from. I can only hope to get the kind of roles that I am in­ter­ested in and in the mean­time, as my bank­a­bil­ity in­creases, I’ll try. There have been a lot of times when the main role is very in­ter­est­ing but I am not con­sid­ered for them.

How did you start do­ing theatre? How is it dif­fer­ent from act­ing on­screen?

I’ve been do­ing theatre since I was a kid. There are many dif­fer­ences. You jour­nal­ists are ask­ing me the same ques­tions again and again (ir­ri­tated). I’ll for­ward you my pre­vi­ous an­swers. There are many sim­i­lar­i­ties as well as dif­fer­ences.

How did Neerja hap­pen?

I have an­swered it thou­sand times! I got cast by Kanika. She called me for the au­di­tion. I au­di­tioned, she liked it. I came back for an­other au­di­tion with Vinod Rawat. He also liked it. They orig­i­nally thought of me for the char­ac­ter of ei­ther Man­soor or Fa­had. Then in the workshop when Vinod and I were work­ing to­gether, Vinod thought that I could do Khaleel. I read the script and worked to­wards Khaleel. By the end of the workshop, I was Khaleel.

Did you ever think that you would start your Bollywood jour­ney with a neg­a­tive shade?

No, I didn’t think anything. I’ve been au­di­tion­ing for four years. I was just never cast.

Which genre are you in­ter­ested in do­ing next?

I am in­ter­ested in all gen­res. There isn’t any genre that I like. I want to work with great scripts, great films, great di­rec­tors.

Is there any other as­pect of film­mak­ing that you would want to ex­per­i­ment with?

I would love to di­rect but not this soon as I have more to learn. I think that’s be­cause I’ve di­rected theatre and I like be­ing in charge of the whole thing and also writ­ing. Be­cause then you are not at the mercy of wait­ing for your scripts. It’s just to take some amount of power back into your life.

Do you have any suc­cess mantra in life?

No. Just work hard and keep try­ing. But this is not the suc­cess mantra you want it to be. I don’t wake up in the morn­ing and do a head stand.

Do you think Bollywood connections mat­ter?

Connections al­ways mat­ter in all fields.

Do you have any dream role?


Do you have a Bollywood bucket list?

What’s a bucket list? No! I don’t.

In a short span of time, how is it work­ing with Sanjay Leela Bhansali in Pad­ma­vati and Raju Hi­rani in Dutt?

You have asked ques­tions I have an­swered be­fore 10,000 times! (pissed) It’s fine, I ‘ll an­swer them all now. But I al­ways feel like there is an op­por­tu­nity here es­pe­cially with some­one like me who will an­swer dif­fer­ent kinds of ques­tions. Then you don’t uti­lize. I don’t un­der­stand why no one asks me about the state of ter­ror­ism in the world af­ter Neerja came out. I am not going to an­swer that now. Ev­ery­one asks me how was it to work with Sonam, there are big­ger is­sues in the world! You just said, do connections mat­ter and then you ask me how is it to work with Sonam, and Ra­jku­mar Hi­rani? Arey, but that’s the same prin­ci­ple na? There are ques­tions you can ask about

Ev­ery­one asks me how was it to work with Sonam, there are big­ger is­sues in the world!”

be­ing in a biopic, about his­tor­i­cal ac­cu­racy. Why do you all jour­nal­ists ask only these ques­tions?

Peo­ple are in­ter­ested in know­ing cer­tain as­pects about you…

How do you know? Has an ar­ti­cle come out till now? Did you think I would be like this in the way I look and be? If I talk to any of my PR agents- when I used to have PR, they would tell me to take off half the pic­tures I have up­loaded on In­sta­gram. But peo­ple like it and re­spond to it. How do you know what peo­ple like? You are only going with the safe jour­nal­is­tic prac­tices and you are only com­plain­ing about the jhoom naam of Bollywood.

Should we call it off? Do you want me to stop this in­ter­view ses­sion?

No, I am re­ally cu­ri­ous. If you all don’t ask more in­ter­est­ing ques­tions, who will? Who will make bet­ter films then? No one will. They’ll keep say­ing that this is what they want. My In­sta­gram pro­file is a proof that you don’t know what peo­ple want. If you look at any other stars In­sta­gram pro­file, they’ll never up­load the things I up­load.

I am keep­ing this (ques­tion­naire) aside then…

I feel you are miss­ing out on an op­por­tu­nity like we could be dis­cussing what it means to make a fic­tion­al­ized ver­sion of some­thing or the ruth­less struc­ture of Bollywood. We could be dis­cussing 1,000 dif­fer­ent things. In­stead, we are talk­ing about how it feels to work with Hi­rani, how did you get cast in Neerja (mock­ing)? Ob­vi­ously, Ra­jku­mar Hi­rani is a good di­rec­tor and he knows what he wants out there and he, very clearly gets it. He knows the power of the scene and he has a very keen eye to­wards what works and what doesn’t. Sanjay Leela Bhansali has a great eye for de­tails. You get spoilt looking at his frames. You go to some other web se­ries and you’ll be like what the f**k is this? His each frame is so in­tri­cate and beau­ti­ful.

Would you ever like to do a web se­ries?

I’ve al­ready done Smoke. I am prob­a­bly going to do an­other one.

What do you think is lack­ing in Bollywood?

I don’t want to an­swer that ques­tion (vis­i­bly ir­ri­tated). Who am I to an­swer that ques­tion? I am still an out­sider. You write an opin­ion piece on Bollywood and I’ll give my opin­ion to you. Don’t shoot off my shoul­der. What do you think is lack­ing in Bollywood?

I think ac­cep­tance of the peo­ple who come from out­side.

You write this in the in­ter­view. I want this. You write Jim in­stead of an­swer­ing turned it on me. He made me an­swer.

How is a film like ADeath intheGunj dif­fer­ent from a com­mer­cially mar­keted film like


I think it is just the amount of money peo­ple have for pro­mo­tions, that’s all that mat­ters. As an ac­tor in the movie, my job ends there. I don’t care if it is an In­die or com­mer­cially suc­cess­ful or anything. I want to do good roles, bas khal­las.

Do you think an ac­tor ben­e­fits by the kind of roles that he/she does?

Yes. The role is now a part of you and lives in­side you. I have learned so much about cin­ema. Neerja, Raabta and Death… were shot in ex­tremely dif­fer­ent ways. Neerja was like a steady cam. Raabta was act­ing for the cam­era. Death… was like do what the di­rec­tor has told you to do.

Which would you pre­fer: filled cof­fers, con­tent-rich projects or undi­luted fame?

I want it all.

You’ve started from theatre to be a film ac­tor now. How does it feel when you are asked ques­tions which make you un­com­fort­able?

I go…la.

Was there any mo­ment in your life when you wanted to give up act­ing?

Yes. This was in 2011. I just thought, ‘oh it is nar­cis­sis­tic, stupid’. I left and went to the Bi­har School of Yoga for five months. Then I was walk­ing around the Hi­malayas for a while. Even­tu­ally, I felt like I would re­gret if I would die up in the moun­tains, and I came back.

If not an ac­tor, what would you be?

Deep sea diver, ocean ex­plorer.

If there is any story which you would like to present to an au­di­ence, what would it be?

Why should I tell you? I haven’t thought about it. And any­way why would I want to share it with 10,000 peo­ple who will know my se­cret story.

Do you at­tend Bollywood par­ties?

Not re­ally. I don’t get in­vited.

Who Gives A F*** About My Per­sonal Life?”

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