Jim Sarbh is known to bring in an element of suavity to his characters. Be it the menacing plane hijacker Khalil in Neerja, the supremely enterprising Homi Bhabha in Rocket Boys, accomplice Malik Kafur to Ranveer Singh’s Alauddin Khilji in Padmavati, or a driven Adil Khanna in Reema Kagti-Zoya Akhtar’s web series Made in Heaven. Ahead of the second season of the much-awaited Prime Video show, Jim Sarbh spoke to The Telegraph Online while prepping for a project to begin in September.
Made in Heaven is both a fan favourite as well as critically acclaimed…
Jim Sarbh: It’s fantastic. That’s a dream. (Smiles)
It’s been a while since Made in Heaven Season 2 was shot. If you look back, what do you recall?
Jim Sarbh: We started shooting in 2021. We were out of the pandemic. We had the time to reconnect with our families, friends and ourselves. We were coming out hungry to act. It was written pre-pandemic. I would be very interested to know how it would have turned out if it was written post-pandemic. We had to reconnect with what was written. I think the biggest challenge was dealing with Covid and delays such as the constant shutting down of sets and going into protocols.
Made in Heaven Season 1 received a lot of love. You must have come across queries about Season 2 wherever you went in the last four years…
Jim Sarbh: Yes, people have been eagerly waiting. I am glad that they haven’t given up on us and they are still excited for the new season. I received positive feedback. It’s the writing that people responded to. We hardly see love triangles where the characters genuinely don’t know how to manage it and it shows the characters’ insecurities, assumptions and prejudices. Adil didn’t consider Tara (Sobhita Dhulipala) an equal. There was an element of patriarchy. If he had considered her an equal partner, he could have valued her strengths. Adil isn’t built that way. I loved having that challenge.
People loved Adil Khanna in Season 1 for his good looks and the shades in his character. Can you share a glimpse of your character in Season 2?
Jim Sarbh: There’s only one new director this time — Neeraj Ghaywan, in place of Prashant Nair. There was ease with the other directors. Neeraj is a great guy and easy to get along with. It’s interesting to see his take on what he saw in the character. For example, he saw Adil in a more antagonistic way than I may have seen. Adil does his bullying because of his indifference and not antagonism.
With everybody else, I had a rhythm and pattern. With Neeraj, it was nice to readjust. The fun is that it’s like I have an idea, he has an idea and the middle ground we reach is always better than both our ideas alone. It adds different shades. The scenes in his episodes will look fresh because it’s a bit meaner. It’s like deepening the shades that are set in the first season.
How was it to be on the sets of Team Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar?
Jim Sarbh: With good storytellers, you can just focus on your character and respond to the text. When people are talented and prepared, things run smoothly. The set had a capable team with accomplished directors, DOPs and ADs. You feel you are in safe hands, knowing everything will be taken care of. Whereas on some sets, you get anxious and wonder if you are in good hands or not! (Laughs)
Made in Heaven Season 1 gave a lot of food for thought. Do you think it will start a conversation again?
Jim Sarbh: The main goal is to entertain and engage. Sometimes the social message doesn’t land. One doesn’t go to films to be told how it is to feel things. I like a film or a show that asks the right questions instead of telling me what to feel.
Made in Heaven Season 1 came out at a time when there were fewer releases on streaming platforms compared to now when we are spoilt for choice…
Jim Sarbh: Yes, content! (Smiles)
And, films and shows have started streaming free as well…
Jim Sarbh: I am very interested to see how that pans out. OTT is rivalling the place of TV shows. You can see reels (on Instagram) for hours but there’s no quality control. Similarly, you watch something and wonder who wrote this. Then you wonder which production company and director approved it. Then you wonder about the actors in it and that a show had put money into it. And, then a show was released! OMG, who said yes to all these levels, but it happens!
Quality control is seldom there…
Jim Sarbh: I don’t know who makes these decisions. People must be crunching numbers. Do I understand or like it? No, I don’t. My job is to act on the next thing. In every industry, there are complaints. I believe in creating my shows and let’s change it together if we can.