Movies

Two shades of grey and more

Take one: Tahir Raj Bhasin had realised his calling early in life at 14. —

Take one: Tahir Raj Bhasin had realised his calling early in life at 14. —  

Bollywood’s newest evil man on the block, actor Tahir Raj Bhasin on why anti-heroes are so challenging to play and his alleged outing in Dear Zindagi

Rumour has it that we’ll be seeing Tahir Raj Bhasin in Gauri Shinde’s Dear Zindagi this weekend. But that’s a story for later. When we interviewed Bhasin over the phone, he was still wrapping up his promotional schedule for Force 2. While Force 2 has generally received a drubbing, critics have been warm in their praise of Bhasin in his second villainous turn. Bhasin first stepped into the spotlight when he played the child trafficking and drug kingpin, Karan Rastogi in Mardaani (2014). As Rastogi, Bhasin sported a menacing grin that’s completely at odds with his regular chocolate-boy looks.

Hailing from a family of pilots, Bhasin had realised his calling as an actor early in life at 14. It was at IIT Bombay’s Mood Indigo, during a theatrical performance that he was part of, that Bhasin knew he wanted to make a career out of his passion. He moved from Delhi in search of Bollywood fame at 21 after having trained at the Barry John Acting School. Like all newcomers he dabbled in smaller roles, before landing Pradeep Sarkar’s Mardaani.

Bagging the role wasn’t a cakewalk for Bhasin as he had to contend with over 600 other aspirants. “There was an open screen test, and the auditioning process took over three months, with five rounds in total,” shares Bhasin. After Mardaani, Abhinav Deo’s Force 2 is the actor’s second consecutive role as an antagonist.

However, Bhasin doesn’t believe in labelling his characters as antagonists. Preferring to call them anti-heroes, he says that while his character in Mardaani was a tough sketch, Force 2’s Shiv Sharma is a person with a plenty of grey shades. Bhasin obviously enjoys playing villainous characters as he believes that there is a little bit of good in every bad, and vice-versa.

Gone are the days when villains were heftily built and doubled-up as stuntmen in the films, snapping the hero’s body at multiple joints. Lauding the audience for appreciating the bad guys, Bhasin explains his penchant for anti-heroes. “There is an underlying emotional vulnerability in these characters. It is this genre of acting that I call anti-heroism,” he states.

Training for Force 2 was a gruelling process, stretching over eight months, shares Bhasin. He plays a software engineer in Indian Embassy, Budapest, who turns out to be a mole leaking information about undercover RAW agents. While the physical training for the role stretched for over six months, he also read up a lot on the technical aspects of the role. “Since we were dealing with RAW and intelligence agents in the film, I had a lot of reading material to catch up on. We were also made to watch a couple of films on ethical hacking, to get a hang of the operations,” says Bhasin.

Refusing to believe he could be typecast as an actor for negative characters, he says that his two-film-old career is too short a time to judge his capabilities. “A lot of girls came out of the theatre hating the character but loving the actor, after Mardaani. Looking at such a mature audience that is accepting, as an actor, I really look forward to doing roles in all genres,” he emphasises.

Meanwhile, what about the persistent rumour about Bhasin being in Dear Zindagi? When asked about it, Bhasin quickly clams up and signs off, citing a confidentiality clause. We’ll just have to wait till Friday for the answer to that one — for now.

The writer is an intern with The Hindu

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 9:03:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/Two-shades-of-grey-and-more/article16690222.ece

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