By Aneesa Malik
In a UK tour to promote his new film Hero – Naam Yaad Rakhi, Jimmy Shergill spoke exclusively with Asian World. His life, marriage and his new film were all a subject of discussion, where Asian World got up close and personal with the real, Jimmy Shergill.
1) Tell us about your new film, Hero – Naam Yaad Rakhi?
The film Hero- Naam Yaad Rakhi is a romantic thriller. This is the first type of genre to be made in Punjabi cinema. So it has the thrill, it has the suspense and it will have the romance. It also has five full fledged songs in the film, which you can enjoy. It’s got a great story; its picked up from a true incident that happened somewhere. It’s very international and versatile- I don’t think any film in Punjabi has been made like this. How much you like the film, you will only be able to say once you’ve watched the film.
2) The character you play is quite bold. How well does that reflect your personality?
That’s the beauty of a thriller. When you start assuming things like, ‘oh this is an action film’ or ‘no, he’s playing an obsessed lover’, let me tell you, you’re nowhere close to where the film is! But again that’s the beauty of a thriller, when people start making up their own stories. Every time we promote a film, we say come watch the film, leave your brains at home. But this time, I am warning you, please bring your brain with you when you come to watch the film, because you will need it.
3) Punjabi cinema has lost its prominence within the UK. What are films like yours doing to re-engage the Punjabi community with the British identity?
That’s a question I always ask the UK media. There was a time when we would talk about overseas business, and the UK was the biggest in the world. I don’t know what’s happened in the last 10-12 years. North America has become such a huge territory today; Australia came from nowhere and has become a huge territory today. Slowly, there will be places that come up and the UK is deteriorating day by day. I’ve tried to do research to find out what is responsible for this scenario. I wish I knew why because I would do something about it. So that’s why I’ve come over here, because I feel this is the only market that has the potential, but we have to keep trying. We need your support, to promote a film you like.
4) Many young British Asian actors are put off by Punjabi cinema because of the language barrier and the lack of prominence of Punjabi cinema. What are your thoughts on that?
The first thing is that someone who is an actor will always think about acting first. I’m an actor, if someone tells me there’s a script in Tamil, and I like it, I will learn the language, because that’s my job as an actor. That’s the hard work an actor puts in.
Everyone wants to be an overnight star, but it’s not that easy. If you’re getting any chance to be a part of a Punjabi movie or any other movie, then build your profile. Every scene, every shot will matter.
Nobody else’s experiences can shape your life. Following someone else’s career is never a good idea. Times are different; people around you will be different. You can only learn from your own experiences.
5) You have a very solid relationship with your wife, Priyanka. Yet, you work with some of the world’s most beautiful women. What’s your secret to a healthy marriage?
I think any relationship is based on trust, faith and belief. It’s also about striking a balance. If a person is busy, the other person should understand he is busy, not for himself, but for us. Look at the positive side, arguments are a part of a very healthy relationship, but if you really love each other, after two hours, you will be back together.
Favourite city: Vancouver
Collaboration: Tabbu and Kajol
Favourite language: The language of love