Joining the bandwagon of home-grown streaming platforms, a revamped SonyLIV is all set to release an array of content. Its first original series Your Honor, starring Jimmy Sheirgill in the lead role, began streaming today. The thriller also stars Varun Badola, Mita Vashisht, Pulkit Makol and Yashpal Sharma among others.
Sheirgill, known for his performances in films like Maachis, Haasil and Tanu Weds Manu among more, made his digital debut with Ranbaaz Phirse (ZEE5) earlier this year. In an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com, the actor shared that the web is giving him challenging parts. He also spoke about Your Honor, being an outsider in the industry and his reaction on being called an underrated actor.
Excerpts from the conversation:
Tell us something about the show.
It is based on an Israeli series Kvodo. The makers took the rights and adapted it to our culture and law. It has been directed by E Niwas. I play a judge Bishan Khosla, and the story revolves around the decisions he takes to save his son. It is a thriller, so I cannot give a lot away.
Do you feel adapting a thriller is risky business given the audience already knows the plot and climax?
Even if they know, the setup is very different. It was an Israel show, and what we offer is more local. The characters are created in a different way, and adapted to make it more relatable. The basic storyline is about this father-son but how things shape up is quite different. You will be hooked from the first episode trying to figure out what will he do, and by the middle of it, you will be so involved that you would want to know how this mess gets cleared.
You also have a son of the same age. Did that make the character more relatable for you?
Of course, it made it easier for me to go through the emotions. I kept thinking how would I react if my son would be in a situation like this. It made it an emotional journey for me. Also, apart from being a courtroom drama and thriller, Your Honor is quite an emotional series. Not just on the surface but on a very deep level. That’s the beauty of this show. When I received the script, I finished it in one go. I am sure the audience too would enjoy watching it.
There is a debate on films releasing directly on OTT platforms. Do you feel it has become a direct competition to Bollywood?
I think the digital medium is coming up in a big way, but it will take a little more time, as whenever something new comes up, people first corrupt, then disrupt before finally knowing how it works. Initially, with no censor, a lot of masala content was made purely with skin show and abuses. However, now people have understood that all that’s important is the story. For us actors, it’s amazing as even a small scene requires minute detailing. That’s not usually present in cinema. I still say it will take a little while as we are still scared of whether people would like the content or not. All said and done, its a great platform, and it’s just like shooting a movie on a longer scale.
In recent times, a lot of shows have been released digitally. Do you think that will have an effect on the audience’s taste for content?
If I go back in time, I was an avid watcher of DVDs and would pick up all kinds of films, to watch over and over again. And then came the time of series and seasons, and I was amazed, not just as an audience but also an actor. I would wonder how it would be to be in a character for many seasons, and still be consistent. And now, of course, people have got used to watching web shows. Especially now during the lockdown, I have had friends calling me and asking for suggestions. And after they consumed almost everything on one platform, they jump to another. So yes, now that they are getting used to it, I am hoping it will bring good results, as the audience would want to watch good content.
Would you want to stick around more on the digital space then?
Well, I have been getting a lot of scripts. But unless and until it’s something that I have not done, or want to do it for a long time, I wouldn’t take it up. I want to be part of good stories and play characters that are layered and gives me a chance to show varied personalities.
You have been tagged as one of the most underrated actors in Bollywood. Does that disturb you or you hold it as a badge of honour?
At least they are not saying that I am an overrated actor (laughs). That’s a huge compliment then. Also, I have always relied on my work. I don’t take the pressure of numbers or tags. I just want to enjoy my work and do justice to my characters.
Discussions around how outsiders are treated in the industry is back. How challenging was it to survive and make a mark for yourself?
It was fun. I mean, whatever it has been, I have no complaints. It’s all thanks to the industry that I am here. Personally, I just went with the flow, believing that God was showing the right part. I remember when I moved to doing certain kinds of films, people would question me. They would suggest that I stick to song and dance kind of roles. It did make me wonder if I took the right decision. Now, in hindsight, I say wow, I am glad that I followed that path and got to be a part of all these wonderful projects.
Your Honor is streaming on SonyLIV.