Pollywood: I just want to focus on acting, says Jimmy Shergill ahead of his ‘Shareek 2’ release

After a gap of four years, Jimmy Shergill is back to showcase his skills in the regional cinema with ‘Shareek 2’, releasing on July 8. Next, he will be seen in a web series titled ‘Choona’ on Netflix.

Hometown

Born in Deokahia village in Sardarnagar of Uttar Pradesh’s (UP) Gorakhpur district, Jimmy was brought up in Patiala, Punjab, where he completed his school and college education before moving to Mumbai to pursue a career in films.

Family

Jimmy comes from a family of landlords owning an ancestral property in Patiala and big farms in UP. His mother late Balraj Kaur Shergill passed away around 7 years ago while father Sayajit Singh Shergill is an eminent abstract painter. His paternal great-aunt Amrita Shergill was a Punjabi-Hungarian painter and a pioneer in modern Indian art. Jimmy is married to Priyanka Puri and has a son named Veer Shergill who has just finished his high school studies. He also has a younger brother Aman Shergill who, along with his family, is settled in Australia.

Education

After completing Class x and xii from The Punjab Public School, Nabha, in Punjab, Jimmy pursed his B.Com (honors) from Government Bikram College of Commerce, Punjabi University, Patiala.

Favorite Song

“I am not too much into listening to music. My playlist is a mix of all kinds of songs suggested by people close to me, be it my family or friends, ”he said

Favorite Movie

How can I mention just one? From classic thrillers to crime flicks, I like watching all the suspense films. However, as an actor I prefer performing light-hearted roles.

Works till date

In a career spanning for more than two decades, Jimmy has appeared in around 200 films. His Bollywood journey began with Gulzar’s’ Maachis’ in 1996 and his role in Yash Raj Films’ ‘Mohabbatein’ (2000) made him a huge hit. A long list of his works include blockbuster movies such as’ Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai ‘(2002),’ Munna Bhai MBBS ‘(2003),’ Hum Tum ‘(2004),’ Tanu Weds Manu ‘(2011),’ Special 26 ‘(2013),’ Happy Bhag Jayegi ‘(2016),’ Lage Raho Munna Bhai ‘(2006),’ My Name Is Khan ‘(2010), and’ Tanu Weds Manu: Returns (2015), to name a few .

Shergill’s works in the Punjabi entertainment include ‘Yaaran Naal Baharan’ (2005), ‘Mel Karade Rabba’ (2010), ‘Dharti’ (2011), ‘Aa Gaye Munde UK De’ (2014), ‘Shareek’ (2015) and ‘Daana Paani’ (2018). Now, after a gap of fours years, he will be seen in Shareek 2, releasing on July 8.

Upcoming projects

After a long delay owing to the Covid pandemic, my two Punjabi films are now finally set for release. ‘Shareek 2’ will be out on July 8 while ‘Tu Hove Main Hova’ will hit the theaters later this year. Meanwhile, there are quite a few projects coming up in Bollywood too. Right now, I’m very excited about this new Netflix series titled ‘Choona,’ a heist comedy-drama, releasing this year.

Is your upcoming film a sequel to Shareek (2015)

Yes, ‘Shareek 2’ is a sequel but with a different story. The theme however remains the same. From 2015 till now, ‘Shareek’ has earned so much respect that it has now become a cult film. Ever after so many years, it still holds the credibility to it. It was quite difficult to make a sequel, but we were sure that with the right story, we would make something even better.

Are you a born artiste?

No, I am not a born artist. Rather I was born into a family of artists. My father is a painter. Also, my dad’s aunt (papa’s bua) Amrita Shergill is a celebrated artist. I had never thought of being an actor. I had simple plans like moving to New York and pursue an MBA. However, the destiny had its own role to play. I was pushed into acting by my older cousin who wanted me to try my luck in the industry. Initially, I was reluctant but then I agreed to give it a shot and joined Roshan Taneja’s acting classes in Mumbai. And the rest is just history.

Claim to fame

‘Mohabbatein’ it is! After this film, people started recognizing me. They began spotting me while walking down the streets.

My secret sauce

I wish I knew what the secret was! I think it is sincerity, hard work and passion for the work you do. Just that. Also, I have always followed my heart without focusing on the outcome. As an actor, if I love a story, or if I feel connected to it, I do it irrespective of whether it will make big or not. The only thing is that my heart should be convinced to be a part of the project I choose to take up.

Thoughts about Pollywood

From the times when the likes of me ventured into the Pollywood, the industry has reached a decent level. Now, there is diversity in content and a lot of new talent is being given opportunity. There has been a great growth of local singers and actors as more people have started making films in the region. I’m sure the Punjabi industry has a lot of scope from this point on and it will come up with much more interesting developments.

Challenges faced

I’ve only faced challenges in these 52 years (laughs casually). If I talk about the Punjabi entertainment industry, things were not as easy as they seem today. I still remember the time when Manmohan Singh, film director and cinematographer, asked me to be a part of a Punjabi film named ‘Yaaran Naal Baharan’ that he was going to direct, I was so excited to perform in my own language. However, little did I know that besides acting, we would have to promote our film door-to-door. There was no budget for film promotions in our industry back then. It was just word of mouth or the limited media available. I vividly remember urging people with folded hands to watch the movie, those sleepless nights, changing the flights, moving across the countries, and spreading the word about the film- all of it was a real task. But once the movie was out and the kind opening it got. Oh my God! It was huge. Despite all the difficulties we faced then, I was sure that the Punjabi cinema would grow into a massive industry.

Future plans

I just want to focus on acting. Rest, there are no plans. Things happen when they have to happen.

One fitness mantra

Be a conscious eater. That’s what I am particular about. Earlier I used to be casual about health and would rather prioritize my work and its demands. However, now there’s nothing at the cost of my health. I learned the importance of fitness after I got a neck problem in 2011. From that time on, I started including yoga in my routine. I suggest everyone to exercise or perform yoga regularly and experience the bliss of good health.

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