‘Don’t call me a terrorist, call me a hijacker’ | bollywood | Hindustan Times
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‘Don’t call me a terrorist, call me a hijacker’

Says Jim Sarbh, who plays Khaleel, one of the four hijackers in the recently released film Neerja, based on the Pan Am flight being hijacked

bollywood Updated: Feb 19, 2016 17:03 IST
Sneha Mahadevan
Jim Sarbh has played the character of Khalil in Neerja. (YouTube)
Jim Sarbh has played the character of Khalil in Neerja. (YouTube)

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.

Read: Neerja review - It’s a milestone in Sonam Kapoor’s career

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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