It wasn’t surprising when Jim Sarbh, a theatre-actor was approached by the makers of Neerja to play a negative character in their film. While playing a grey character is not the most obvious choice for an actor in the first few films, Sarbh decided to leap at it with both hands. “For me, a role is a role. What I play on screen doesn’t bother me. If the role is complicating and challenging enough for me to push me out of my comfort zone, then I get very excited. But, I was clear that no one on the sets would call me a terrorist. Call me a hijacker because that is what I play in the film”, he explains.
For Sarbh who didn’t know anything about Neerja Bhanot, working on this film was an eye-opening experience. “I had absolutely no idea and I am so glad I got to read so much about her. I am so fortunate to have been a part of a solid film, “he says. Director Ram Madhvani had isolated the four hijackers from the rest of the crew. They weren’t allowed to interact with anyone until three-fourths of the film was shot. But Sarbh says it worked best for him. “I loved it. I think you go one way where you rehearse and are thoroughly prepared or the other is when you go out and experiment. I like going with the flow. I was anyways stressed about remembering Arabic and the other paraphernalia that I didn’t really need the stress of making friends and doing small talk. Also, this ensured there was an air of mystery around my character. For most part, I hardly interacted with anyone and I remained in my zone. It was much later that people got to know that I was a Parsi from Mumbai.”
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