Jim Sarbh makes his big screen debut with Neerja
...and he has more meaty roles in the pipeline!
The actor known for his roles in theatre productions like Kalki Koechlin’s The Living Room makes the leap to movies this month and does a thorough job of it. He has five films in the pipeline, and first up is Sonam Kapoor-starrer Neerja. He plays a Palestinian terrorist, Khalil, on board the hijacked 1986 Pan Am aircraft in the biopic based on the life of the heroic flight attendant, Neerja Bhanot. For the 28-year-old, it wasn’t just the high of starring in his first mainstream film, but the experimental workshops during the film’s training process. “The cast didn’t interact with each other at all till we were actually shooting on the plane,” says Sarbh. “It was unfamiliar territory for everyone, and the best part was that each actor had to figure out what they can do as their character – it excited me the most.”
Then, you’ll see Sarbh as an almost unrecognisable, smooth-talking charmer in Natasha Mendonca’s docu-fiction Ajeeb Aashiq, which premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam last month. The story maps the relationship between a transgender sex worker and a gender-ambiguous rickshaw driver who ferries her around. Switching characters comes easily to Sarbh, who is always game to try anything, just as long as it hasn’t been done before. While not being “the hero-type” has worked in his favour, he says, “I just hope that each new role keeps testing me, and taking me out of my comfort zone.” Expect to see more of this chameleonic talent in other upcoming films, including the NFDC-produced Yashodhara, where he plays a “loony, mythical” creature and writer-director Dar Gai’s Three And A Half Takes where he tackles a 44-minute scene in one very long take. You’ll see more of him after 2016 as well, as he soon starts shooting for Konkana Sen Sharma’s directorial debut, Death In The Gunj.
Photograph: Bikramjit Bose
You may also want to read: 5 reasons to watch Neerja