Art & Entertainment

Jim Sarbh On ‘Rocket Boys 2’: Never Thought Science Would Be A Restriction On How The Show Is Received

‘Rocket Boys’ star Jim Sarbh opens up on what he’s looking forward to in the show’s second season, and how it was to play Dr Homi Bhabha again.

Jim Sarbh as Dr Homi Bhabha in 'Rocket Boys'

The trailer of the second season of the streaming series 'Rocket Boys' was released recently, and it showcases how India is grappling with the loss of its first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru amid rising geopolitical tensions. It then shifts its gears to how the lead character of India's nuclear energy, Dr. Homi J. Bhabha (played by Jim Sarbh), Dr. Vikram Sarabhai (played by Ishwak Singh), and Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam crossed paths. 

Jim Sarbh, in an exclusive chat with Outlook, talked about what he is looking forward to in the show’s second season, how it was to play Dr Homi Bhabha again, and his upcoming projects. Excerpts from the interview:

The trailer of the second season of ‘Rocket Boys’ is out, and everyone is looking forward to it. What are you looking forward to?

I am looking forward to seeing it as I have not watched it. We shot 80 percent of it before even season one came out. I am really interested in seeing how it has finally turned out, you know. Also, remembering all of the days when I shot it.

You got all the praise for playing Dr Homi Bhabha. Considering it was a science drama, did you have any apprehensions taking up the show?

I don’t think that any topic is boring, the storytellers are or could be boring. So any topic can be an exciting and brilliant show, if it is really told well. So, in this case, I never thought science would be a restriction on how it is received by the audience. It is all based on the director and their form of storytelling.

Both the characters in the show, Dr Homi Bhabha and Dr Vikram Sarabhai, are shown as flawed human beings. How did you prepare for the part?

I think my experience of human beings so far is that they are never generally black or white. They are always gray. Doesn’t matter how great you think a person is, once you meet them, you know the old phrase - “Never meet your heroes”. Because you might actually be shocked at who you meet. Similarly, everyone is human and to be human is to have flaws. When we watch a completely sanitized version of a hero, it does not necessarily match our versions of them in life. In life, we meet people who have strengths and weaknesses. So that’s just simple.

Do you think playing a person you have not met in real life is easy or difficult?

So you have not met them, so you can do anything. You go based on what you read about them or their own writings, or their tones. You have a bit more freedom and you try to base it on the research you have done on them. So based on that blueprint, you etch out what otherwise is an imaginary version of that person. We don’t know how he talked to his mother, but we have to try and paint the person based on his general approach to life. In ‘Rocket Boys’, we have painted how a lot of humour for Homi comes from his mother, and he has a playful relation with her. His drive and his responsibility comes from his father, who was a very high-powered lawyer. But his mother was connected to the Tata family, had a good world charm and certainly in herself. So you tend to build a character as a consequence.

From ‘Neerja’ to ‘Padmaavat’ to then ‘Sanju’ and Dr Homi Bhabha in ‘Rocket Boys’, you’ve come a long way. How do you strike a balance between work and life?

I try to just have a good, active and flourishing life outside of work too. That’s all. I don’t have an easy going personality, sometimes I feel it is too harsh. It just depends on circumstances and people. I don’t believe in the concept of self, there are just a variety of people who experience a person’s different moods. 

You have Dr Homi Bhabha’s desk at your home from an auction, was it on purpose?

No, I did not think it in terms of Dr Homi Bhabha. I thought it was really cool, and a brilliant desk. There is a trivia around it, but at the time, I thought of it as a decor desk shaped in a semicircle. It was a purely aesthetic decision.

Can you tell us more about ‘Made In Heaven 2’ and ‘Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway’?

Me, as a fan, is also waiting for ‘Made In Heaven 2’, and the film is great. ‘Made In Heaven 2’ too is a must-watch, when it comes out. (Laughs)

With an ensemble cast including Ishwak Singh, Arjun Radhakrishnan, Regina Cassandra, Rajit Kapur, Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Namit Das and Saba Azad in pivotal roles, ‘Rocket Boys 2’ is set to drop on Sony LIV on March 16. It is created by Nikkhil Advani, Roy Kapur Films & Emmay Entertainment, and written and directed by Abhay Pannu.