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Jim Sarbh talks about his International Emmy nod for Rocket Boys and the incredible man called Homi Bhabha

The SonyLIV show, which focuses on Vikram Sarabhai (played by Ishwak Singh) and Homi Bhabha’s joint efforts to shape India as a nuclear power, has been a consistent winner

Priyanka Roy  Published 05.10.23, 05:52 AM
Jim Sarbh

Jim Sarbh Pictures: The Telegraph

Jim Sarbh has garnered an International Emmy nomination for his turn as visionary scientist Homi Bhabha, a role that he has played over two seasons of Rocket Boys. The SonyLIV show, which focuses on Vikram Sarabhai (played by Ishwak Singh) and Homi Bhabha’s joint efforts to shape India as a nuclear power, has been a consistent winner.

Jim, who has been on a high over the last few years with stellar roles on the big screen (Gangubai Kathiawadi, Mrs Chatterjee vs Norway) and small (Made in Heaven, Four More Shots Please!) took a few questions from t2.


What was your immediate reaction when you heard that you had been nominated for an International Emmy?

Surprise and confusion. I had forgotten Emmay Productions (the producer of Rocket Boys) had applied, and I had no idea the announcement was that day. Slowly, my surprise and confusion gave way to excitement, but not for a couple of hours.

What does this kind of recognition mean to you, especially being nominated alongside someone like Martin Freeman?

I am overwhelmed and excited to be nominated under the Best Actor category at the International Emmy Awards for my portrayal of Dr Homi Bhabha in Rocket Boys. It is an honour to be recognised amongst such talented individuals from across the world. This nomination is a testament to the hardworking, dedicated and extremely talented cast and crew, who brought the incredible story of Dr Sarabhai and Dr Bhabha to life. I loved working on Rocket Boys, a project that salutes some of India’s scientists, artists, and leaders, the pioneers of a newly birthed nation.

Jim Sarbh as Homi Bhabha in Rocket Boys

Jim Sarbh as Homi Bhabha in Rocket Boys

Martin Freeman? I have followed his career for many years and absolutely love his work. He always pops up in one of my favourite director’s films... Edgar Wright. In addition, there is The Office, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Fargo, Carnage, and, of course, Sherlock. I have not watched The Responder, but I am very eager to. I greatly admire his ability to represent an underdog, an Everyman, with so much grace, depth, bravery in the face of sadness, quiet charisma, and humour. He always has me rooting for his character. I cannot believe I am nominated alongside him.

You have played a variety of roles in the last few years. Would you say that playing Homi Bhabha in the two seasons of Rocket Boys has been your most rewarding role yet, both creatively and otherwise?

I don’t like to rank roles... comparison brings only misery. Dr Bhabha was a fascinating man. A complete man. He was a scientist, first and foremost, but he was also a painter, a violinist, an architect — he designed most of his institutes — a die-hard supporter of the arts, a loyal friend and a charming partner. He was full of life.

He believed in increasing the longevity of his life by increasing the intensity with which he lived it. How you do something is how you do everything, and his attention to detail, appreciation of showmanship, and pursuit of perfection show in every aspect of his life.

Trying to bring this man to life was equally challenging and rewarding. How does someone who thinks faster, deeper and broader than me approach a difficult conversation? A difficult moment? A light moment? A witty retort socially vs. a plea to the Prime Minister to fund your life work?
He inspires me personally, because of his infinite curiosity. And his perseverance in working hard to transform curiosity into ability.

Which is your favourite Jim Sarbh role?

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