Jackie Shroff: Watching a movie on a gadget that’s the size of your handkerchief, and watching movies in theatres — both are quite different
His most recent outing was The Interview: Night of 26/11, an official remake of the Dutch movie The Interview
From the top Bollywood stars during the ’80s, there are few names that continue to be in demand for work today. Among them is Jackie Shroff who has had a great run in recent years. Not just Hindi movies, he has earned popularity in the Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Marathi, Konkani, Gujarati and Punjabi film industries as well. “God has been kind, and my audience has been kind. I have been in the industry since the days when there were a handful of cinema halls. Then everything evolved and now we have OTT platforms. So I have been getting work and am grateful for it,” says the actor.
His most recent outing was The Interview: Night of 26/11, an official remake of the Dutch movie The Interview. Jackie played the lead role and was cast as a war journalist who is assigned to interview a popular actress. “He hates doing it. Due to the circumstances, he is forced to take up the assignment and he goes there grudgingly. But it turns out to be a mysterious evening. I thought it would be fun to do as there were a lot of shades to the story,” explains the actor who was directed by Hollywood director Laurens Postma. The star has worked with some of the top directors in the country and says he was lucky to work with Laurens too. “I didn’t watch the original. Laurens is an actor as well and has directed the likes of Malcolm McDowell, so I had complete faith in him and did as I was told,” reveals Jackie.
While this Hindi movie garnered some mixed reactions, Jackie’s movies in regional languages have earned him appreciation. He won an award for his portrayal of the bad guy in the Tamil film, Aaaranya Kaandam, a few years ago, and for his Malayalam movie, Athisayan, he won a special jury honour. But his most recent work, which was well-received, was in Prabhas’ trilingual, Saaho. “Aaranya Kaandam was a fun movie to act in. I have acted in most Indian languages. I feel like I am a sponge, absorbing things from different people and cultures. Many people reach a saturation point after so many years, but I don’t think I will ever be saturated in my career or life. If something appeals to me, I will do it. I did Antarmahal, my first film in Bengali by Ritupar no Ghosh. Recently, I acted in Criminal Justice, which was my first OTT series, and this was followed by OK Computer and Hello Charlie which are films made for OTT platforms,” he shares.
Even though OTT platforms have taken centre stage in the entertainment industry, the veteran says the magic of cinema will continue to lure people to theatres. “Watching a movie on a gadget that’s the size of your handkerchief, and watching movies on 70mm screens — both are quite different. If you are binge-watching shows or TV serials, then the small screen works. But watching movies on the big screen with people whistling, clapping and going crazy is an experience that cannot be replaced. You can’t watch someone like Hrithik Roshan on a small gadget. Of course you can watch his films on mobile phones, but he will still be a star for the big screen,” says the actor whose next theatrical release is the much-anticipated Sooryavanshi. Jackie is cast alongside superstars like Akshay Kumar, Ranveer Singh and Ajay Devgn. Directed by Rohit Shetty, the movie has been underwraps since its 2020 release was postponed indefinitely due to the pandemic.
“Sooryavanshi is meant for theatres. Rohit is one of the finest action directors in the industry and he knows what he wants. The cast is formidable and I am used to being part of such multi-starrers, such as Karma and Parinda. I like it. Such a cast makes me give my best! All the actors are so sincere, serious and real heavy-weights!” enthuses the actor. His other upcoming films include Athiiti Bhooto Bhava with Pratik Gandhi, and Phone Bhoot with Katrina Kaif, Ishaan Khatter and Siddhant Chaturvedi.