'Twelfth man of the Under-19 team'

Last Updated 29 September 2014, 16:18 IST

After a week of arriving in Bombay I waited in a line for five hours to appear for an advertisement audition and was rejected because of my looks,” says Tahir Raj Bhasin aka bad guy from Mardaani. 

The actor has today won acclaim for the very same looks that seemed like a ‘bane’ once. It doesn’t take much time for destiny to change  especially when we already have living examples like Shah Rukh Khan in the industry!  

One wonders if Bhasin too is going to make history by starting his career with a negative character. “It wasn’t totally negative but had dark shades,” points Bhasin explaining that it was challenging to play “Someone who doesn’t look like a villain. When I read the script, I had an idea that the role will get appreciation, but I didn’t expect it to get this level of critical acclaim!”

“After struggling for four years in the industry, if you ask me whether I was expecting this then I would say it was no big thing. But it is also great to have got this role. It takes other actors two or three such roles to make people talk about them in the industry,” says the young actor who has nailed it in just the second try.

Having debuted in the industry with a short film for the Film and Television Institute of India, the actor has made brief appearances in two films  Kai Po Che and One by Two. 

“It was not a career decision to choose Mardaani after that,” says Bhasin informing that he really wasn’t in a position to choose.

 “The combination of Yash Raj Films and Pradeep Sarkar (director of Mardaani) was such that I couldn’t tell them ‘I will reply to you after 10 days’ after having heard the story. My director had confidence that I will be good at the job, since the character that I was offered had many dimensions. Also, Rani (Mukerji) treated me as an equal.” 

Few know that Bhasin is a political science graduate from Delhi University’s Hindu College and holds a Master’s degree in media from University of Melbourne, Australia. To add to that, he was part of summer intensive acting and voice training program conducted by veteran Naseerudin Shah and has a background in contemporary Bollywood jazz dance and mixed martial art. 

“All this voice and behavioural training prepared me, in the hindsight, for this character. Acting has always been my hobby since I was 13. At the age of 15, I started receiving professional training and by 18 I wanted to be a full time actor.”

But what triggered him to pursue his dream was his dissatisfaction with “the odd 9 to 5 jobs where I worked with lawyers and engineers in a TV production company. I have a personality that was not happy by just being able to make a financial living. I then decided to pursue my passion, even if it wasn’t easy to make a living.”           

(Published 29 September 2014, 16:18 IST)

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