EXCLUSIVE | Jim Sarbh on playing Malik Kafur in Padmaavat: I tried to reveal his complicated feelings and ambitions

Updated: January 31, 2018 8:04 pm

Jim Sarbh played Alauddin Khilji’s slave Malik Kafur in Padmaavat. It really is an enriching experience. So what was the most challenging part about playing Malik? He said Jim made him look good. I was very happily surprised to see that Sanjay Sir was extremely responsive to improvisations, and it was incredible seeing him adapt his ideas of the scene and the shot breakdown. “There was no brief. He is extremely reactive, and extremely responsive. The luxury of choice is not offered to industry outsiders.”
Jim concludes by sharing his thoughts on the entire controversy around Padmaavat. It was about the scale of production. In an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com, Jim talks about his journey as Malik and how it feels being on a Bhansali set. Jim Sarbh was selected for the Forbes India 30 under 30 list in 2015. From Best Male Debut to Best Actor in Negative Role, Jim Sarbh won several awards for Neerja. First one was cool because it is dynamic and kind of encapsulates the character perfectly. I think he is also extremely curious, curious about the hypocritical people around him,” Jim said. It puts emphasis on something that should not be emphasised. We were on our feet ready to face a change at the drop of a hat. Jim Sarabh in a still from Padmaavat song ‘Binte Dil’. When Khilji fell ill, he even held the actual power of the empire. That requires a kind of stamina to be able to live with this guy, and have him constantly accessible. When we asked Jim about his most favourite scene, he said, “I don’t know. Those who’ve seen the film would also laud Jim’s introduction scene where he fiercely stabs two generals while staying graceful behind a veil. “Ranveer is a great co-actor. He rose to prominence and served as Khilji’s governor at one point. I was handling my part, and trying to achieve perfection with my co-actors. This was followed by A Death in the Gunj and Raabta last year. I tried to portray his journey from being a slave and suddenly rising to the position of being the second most powerful person in the empire. He is a demanding director, which I love. I tried to reveal his complicated feelings and ambitions. It shows his ferocity and his grace, his loyalty and his irreverence, his sultry confident manner.”
Malik Kafur has been written as a prominent eunuch slave-general of Alauddin Khilji, who ruled the Delhi Sultanate. He is kind of a sociopath. Point to note is how Bhansali has beautifully explored the bond between Khilji and Malik. Several books have also mentioned the homosexual relationship between this master-slave, which was very intricately shown in the film too. “Though the film went through all that, I never doubted it’s eventual release,” he signs off. There’s been no particular choice of film. In Padmaavat, we saw how Malik was captured by Jalaluddin Khilji and gifted to Ranveer’s character as a slave. He (Bhansali) would come on the set with a new element, a new way of entering into a scene and suddenly the whole team would have to adapt to it. Love is love!”
Jim Sarbh’s Malik Kafur is shown to be one of the closest to Alauddin Khilji in Padmaavat. Jim made a remarkable debut while playing the main hijacker in 2016 award-winning film Neerja, taking home almost every top award. I met him, read the script, had a look test, and the next we met was on the set,” he shared. I’m just glad to be part of groovy films. I read the script. It was beautiful,” he said. The film was shot over a year and three days. I felt I understood the character. Also read | Things we would’ve missed watching if Padmaavat hadn’t released at all
Also read | Whatever happened with Padmaavat created lot of angst in me: Ranveer Singh
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© IE Online Media Services Pvt Ltd We got to experience the most beautiful thing an actor can experience, which is being powerfully alive and aware in a moment, trying to represent ourselves but also allowing the other actor to affect you and letting the natural fate of the scene express itself through us. Sometimes even when you aren’t shooting, 25 percent of your brain is still with your character. To call him the surprise element of this period drama won’t be wrong. I think that was the biggest challenge for me, trying to maintain his essence despite long periods between scenes,” Jim said. Talking about playing this, Jim said, “First of all, I don’t understand all the hullabaloo. Jim plays Alauddin Khilji’s slave-general and confidant, who can go to any extreme to please his master. So you come with your own ideas, and new elements get added; now you have to adapt fast and use the new elements as a new way to approach the scene. As a team all of us were there to achieve the same goal. He always brings great ideas to set with him, different ways to express a moment, and I am allowed to both present an impulse and have more than enough to react to. So far, I have done what has been offered, because I desperately, powerfully want to act. Ranveer had recently said in an interview how beautifully Khilji and Malik’s relationship was depicted in Padmaavat. Sometimes, magically, you end up achieving things you could not have imagined before. Talking about what it is to work with Bhansali, who arguably is one of the most demanding directors in the industry, Jim said, “Working with him was super. “I read about Malik Kafur. Related News
Gujarat High Court defers hearing on ‘Padmaavat’ producers’ plea until WednesdayVIDEO: ‘Ghoomar’ on ICE! I enjoyed them all. He knows when to move, and when to be still; when he moves he does very gracefully and very deadly at the same time. He is a pleasure to work with. Imagine a man having a slave background to suddenly becoming the second most powerful person in an empire. It was pretty clear the way it was written. Also, because of his receptiveness you trusted him even more if he stuck with his initial impulse or he denied your impulse, it made you feel like he has a master plan that I can’t comprehend. How does Jim feel about it? It’s nerve-wracking and exhilarating to be a part of all of this.”
So what was the brief he got from SLB about playing Malik, a character who after a point even controlled the mind of Khilji. Jim’s selection of films might look varied but he says “I just do what I get cast in. All of us wanted the shot to be groovy before we go home. “I think it had nothing to do with the character. This figure-skater beautifully twirls to Deepika Padukone’s ‘Padmaavat’ songPadmaavat box office collection day 8: Sanjay Leela Bhansali film shows no signs of slowing downWhile Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone and Shahid Kapoor are being lauded for some great performances in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat, there’s one actor who left us equally impressed – Jim Sarbh, who played Malik Kafur in the magnum opus. It truly felt collaborative. Your question, frankly, is unnecessary to me.