FOR actor Jimmy Shergill, it’s all about the story. “I only take up stories which I haven’t heard and feel are incredible. This may end up with me being cast in a big role or sometimes even a small one, but I’d rather do these than the done-to-death type leads,” says the actor. No wonder his choice of roles range from the good-hearted thug Raja Awasthi in Tanu Weds Manu, to the tough ATS officer in A Wednesday and a baddie in Fugly. Now excited about another story driven film, Traffic, Shergill is back in khakhi uniform again. Based on a true incident and originally made in Malayalam and remade in Tamil and Kannada, the Hindi version is releasing today. The story is of a police officer’s (Manoj Bajpayee) race against time to save a girl’s life by traversing heavy traffic and other hurdles to bring her a donor’s heart. The Bullet Raja star plays the role of a young police commissioner who orchestrates the mission.
For the Hindi remake, the story of Traffic remains unchanged though the commute is between Pune and Mumbai now. “I wrapped my schedule in 12-15 days which was mostly on the set of a police control room put up in Mumbai,” says Shergill. He opted for the role after the DVD of the Malayalam version was sent to him by late director Rajesh Pillai, who passed away last February. “When we started discussing the role, I felt the director would require me to sport a moustache but surprisingly he was all for a young commissioner, sans a moustache and a beard,” says the 45-year-old actor who believes that he is a director’s actor.
The language did come in between the Punjabi actor and the Malayalam director though, as Shergill would often feel that Pillai did not like his takes, “but when the assistant directors would translate I discovered that he was in fact praising the takes,” laughs Shergill recalling the experience of shooting with Pillai.
Apart from Bollywood, Shergill has carved a niche in the Punjabi film industry where he not only acts but also produces, along with Eros International. “As an actor, I feel the need to see how movies are made in different industries and trying to learn the ropes in movies of different languages excites and challenges me,” concludes Shergill who is currently shooting in Ranchi. His next will be Madari directed by Nishikant Kamay, starring Irrfan Khan.
Traffic releases today.
— Seema Rajpal