Exclusive: Operation Mayfair actor Jimmy Shergill reveals, 'I didn’t want to slap Sanjay Dutt in Munna Bhai M.B.B.S.'

Exclusive: Operation Mayfair actor Jimmy Shergill reveals, 'I didn’t want to slap Sanjay Dutt in Munna Bhai M.B.B.S.'

Actor opens up about his latest release Operation Mayfair, why he still considers Munna Bhai M.B.B.S an important film, and more 

Rohit BhatnagarUpdated: Monday, March 27, 2023, 05:53 AM IST
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Jimmy Shergill | Pic: Instagram/jimmysheirgill

Jimmy Shergill is currently seen in the thriller movie Operation Mayfair. Directed by Sudipto Sarkar, the film hit screens on March 24. The Free Press Journal met the actor for an exclusive interaction. Excerpts:

What is the newness in Operation Mayfair being a thriller?

The biggest plus point of the film is the production value. People would have probably not seen the locations in the UK so far, even inter-cities too. My director Sudipto Sarkar has been a line producer for several Hollywood films. Secondly, it is based on true events but to make it a little Indianised, we have songs in montages. It isn’t a thriller which has a guess game. Rather, at some point, you will come to know that he/she is the murderer while watching it. 

Since Mohabbatein, you have changed a lot of parameters for a male lead in Hindi films. Your thoughts?

Drastically it happened with Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. (2003). After Mohabbatein (2000), I was interested in the solo leads but surprisingly, the good ones which were coming to me were ensembles — Dil Hai Tumhaara (2002), Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai (2002), Dil Vil Pyar Vyar (2002). There were times when heroes were saying no to a two-hero film, I was wondering why were they? The roles were so good. It is always better to do a good ensemble film than a bad solo lead film (laughs).

Why would you believe that Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. was a game changer in your career?

I was at the trial of Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai at YRF. My director Sanjay Gadhvi knew Raju (Rajkumar Hirani) and he told me that he is making a film with Sanju baba (Sanjay Dutt) and he wants to meet me for a role. I met him and we clicked. We started sitting down on my character Zaheer. Raju was very clear that Zaheer was the most important character in this since he changes the trajectory of Munna, even though he wasn’t the main or second lead. 

Elaborate further…

I heard the script but I wasn’t ready to slap Sanjay Dutt in the film. It was my condition. Even he was convinced that I should be doing this role and no one else could pull off Zaheer better than me. Raju tricked me to slap him on the sets and then finally we shot the scene in one take. We couldn’t have cheated either. Times were different back then. I was like a kid, who came out of Mohabbatein and there was no one to guide me. Today, many things are clear.

How are you sustaining in a ruthless industry without feeling insecure of your surroundings?

One has to keep doing our own thing, be it in your own world and keep doing it with honesty and dedication. I never looked into others as to what they are doing. When I pick up a project to do an experiment, I feel whether a new producer would be able to release my film or not, those insecurities are there. But, if I like the director and the script, I do it. Later, every project has its own destiny.

How has your experience been with film producers in general?

I have seen many producers, who aren’t smart enough and they shut shops but on the other hand, there are producers who will try to correct the fate of the film. 

Tinseltown’s latest debutante

Hritiqa Chheber

Hritiqa Chheber | Pic: Instagram/hritiqachheber

Hritiqa Chheber, who originally hails from Madhya Pradesh, India marks her debut with Operation Mayfair. While embracing her journey, she shares, “I believe that I came at the right time. I don’t believe in the concept of number games, I just want to be a good actor. I was doing modelling and at some point, I wanted to quit and give up but the script of Operation Mayfair came my way, I liked it and auditioned for it and here I am.”

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