Bollywood actor Jim Sarbh, who first shot to fame with the OTT series Made in Heaven, and subsequently wowed audiences with his roles in Sanju and Padmavaat, says he’s “excited” and “honoured” to step into the role of the Padma Bhushan physicist Dr Homi Bhabha in the upcoming web series Rocket Boys.
The 34-year-old Parsi actor tried hard not to feel overwhelmed by the nuclear physicist’s towering personality, who is often referred to as the ‘father of the Indian nuclear programme’ and did his best to read up about him, watch his speeches and to basically “capture his approach to life”.
Everything about the project drew me towards it, he said, adding that he got the opportunity to play someone who was such a dynamic individual, who had the drive to make his vision a reality.
Rocket Boys, directed by Abhay Pannu, is meant to be a tribute to India’s best scientific minds and focusses on the finer details of the country’s space programme. It was no doubt a “challenging” project for Sarbh, as Bhabha is a cult figure in India, who was a passionate proponent of atomic energy and headed India’s atomic programme. But he tried not to dwell too much on the man’s legacy.
Sarbh told reporters that he does feel the responsibility but he tried not to think about his legacy, and his greatness. “I just tried to play a character whose mind works very fast to understand patterns, people and who knows when to lighten the mood with a joke and when things are deadly serious,” he said.
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The actor also loved the fact that Dr Bhabha had also written books on culture, was a fantastic painter, and a brilliant violin player. The actor said he was more drawn to the unknown facets of Dr Bhabha’s life and loved to play rich characters who have multiple facets, he said.
It was a “delicious” character to play and it was a great honour to play a personality like Bhabha, he added. Sarbh also reportedly had good chemistry with Ishwak Singh, (Paatal Lok, Aligarh) who plays Vikram Sarabhai, the father of the Indian space programme. “Our chemistry is an important part of the narrative,” said Sarbh, according to media reports. Sarbh hoped the show, which follows Dr Bhabha and Dr Sarabhai’s journey as they build India’s future post-independence from British rule, strikes a chord with the audience and inspires them.
“We have seen military or sports heroes. We don’t really talk about scientists,” said the actor, who surprised critics when he played the role of adoring slave Malik Kafur to Ranveer’s Singh Alauddin Khilji in Padmavaat.
Sarbh was last seen in Bejoy Nambiar’s stylish film Taish, which is streaming on Zee5. Rocket Boys, which also features Tamil actor Regina Cassandra and Rajit Kapur (he plays Jawarharlal Nehru) releases on SonyLiv on February 4.