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Jackie In Action

Jackie Shroff talks about his ‘strong cameo’ in his upcoming film Phamous with Suranjana Biswas.

What was the brief given to you regarding the story?

I have done a film with Karan Butani when he was assisting a director for a film which I was a part of. And that’s when he has narrated the story to me and I told him that I will do any role that he offers to me. He is a brilliant kid; hence I decided not to say no to him. So I didn’t require any brief from him.

Can you tell us a bit about your character?

I want to credit the director for handling me so well. My character is a very strong cameo. The director has not made me jump out of my skin to act. I cannot reveal much about the character though at this point of my time.

The location of the film adds a certain amount of realism to it.

Oh it was amazing, and man it was so hot! It was so hot that all my cellulite melted. It definitely adds an edge to the story. We have been to the best and the extreme locations to get the best shots possible. I have been to Ladakh, where we couldn’t breathe, Kashmir and the deserts for a lot of my films but Chambal I guess I have never been to. There are so many mounts, you can just go and hide behind one of those.

In films about dacoits and gangsters, we have often seen the central characters getting glorified. How is this film different from them?

Karan is a director who has his head on his shoulders and he knows what he is doing, the way he is projecting his character. I think for him to do a film on a subject like this is fantastic. I remember, in Mission Kashmir my character wasn’t glorified and so is the case here as well, in this film.

It is such a brilliant cast with Jimmy Sheirgill, Kay Kay Menon, Pankaj Tripathi and many more. How was the dynamic working with these actors?

It was an excellent experience. It was a treat to work with (Jimmy) Sheirgill. It was absolutely fantastic, to hang around there and have Chambal food from there. Everybody in the crew was really nice to work with. Karan has made it so comfortable for all of us; he has managed it so beautifully. Nivedita Kothare is a great producer; I had a good time shooting for this film.

You have ventured in regional cinema as well. What excites you to work in regional space?

I never really thought about it, I just started doing one film after the other, in different south Indian languages be it, Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu. I also did Bhojpuri, Odia, Bengali, Punjabi, Konkani, Marathi and Gujarati. It just kept coming my way and I didn’t feel like saying no. I know little of all the languages and that helps take me forward.

You have worked on the digital platforms other than being an established actor in films. Did you find any kind of difference working across the mediums?

I am working in a web series for BBC and what I have feel is what you see on a television screen and a big screen is quite different from each other in terms of content, sometimes. I feel on the digital platforms it is more about close cut actions; it is more about storytelling and the eyes of the actor doing the talking.

What are you looking forward to after this?

I am doing Robbie Grewal’s RAW. Then I am doing BBC’s web series, Criminal Justice and also a Gujarati film that I have just finished, which is a remake of the Marathi film Ventilator. Also a Tamil film and a Konkani film as well.

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