While the horror film genre has long been an overseas favourite in India, it mostly comprises films that are heavy on skin show, masquerading as something aimed at terrifying cinema-goers. But actor Jimmy Sheirgill, who was in the city on Thursday to promote his upcoming film, Darr @ The Mall, promises us that this film is unlike all of that, saying "the film has got an 'A' certificate purely on the basis of its fear factor and not because of any nudity or chopping up of limbs".
With most Bollywood horror films being set in abandoned haunted houses, a mall is undoubtedly a unique location and more likely to work for a film, claims Jimmy. "The biggest audience for this genre is the youth and malls are the places frequented most by them," he says. Having grown up on tales of the supernatural, the actor himself is a believer of ghosts, though none have approached him so far. "Thank God for that," he laughs.
So how does he believe this film to be different from others in the genre? "This is a new-age horror film that matches international standards and has a very a high-end production," says Jimmy, further adding, "It is the kind of film where you don't need to see anything but you can feel the fear in your bones." The actor goes on to reveal that he wasn't too keen to do a horror film until the director narrated him the script.
Citing his role in Darr @ The Mall, which is set to release tomorrow, as his toughest so far, Jimmy says the film's director Pavan Kirpalani had turned his entire schedule upside down for the film, having even made the actor work for 40 nights consecutively with barely any time to sleep. "I was waking up at night and sleeping in the mornings; it was very disorienting," he recalls.
Having done back to back films with director Tigmanshu Dhulia - the most recent being Bullett Raja and Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster and its sequel, Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster Returns - Jimmy says that Tigmanshu has been a friend from his early days in the industry and knows him better than most. "I love working with him because he knows how to constantly reinvent me," adds he.
On being asked if he will ever do a Punjabi horror flick, an oxymoron if there ever was one, he laughingly says, "Why not?"