Exclusive: Taha Shah Badussha opens up on playing Tajdar in 'Heeramandi'

Exclusive: Taha Shah Badussha opens up on playing Tajdar in 'Heeramandi'

The actor, who is quietly becoming the new national crush, tells us what romance means to him

Even after a month since Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Heeramandi began streaming and trending on the OTT platform, it is very much in news. Apart from the ensemble cast, Taha Shah Badussha’s portrayal of Tajdar has won hearts of all the viewers and has given him the status of the new national crush among netizens. We catch up with him on his role and what romance means to him.

Q

How did the role of Tajdar come to you?

A

This was completely Sanjay (Leela Bhansali) sir’s call. He’s a person who believes jiske taqdeer mein hota hain usi ko milta hain (whoever has the luck, gets it). I just needed one day with sir to prove to him that I can do something. Fortunately, he made me read two roles. The first was that of Balraj. When I finished with the look test and called him again two-three weeks later, he said that he’s changed his mind. That made me disheartened but when I went to meet him, he said that he had seen something in my eyes and wanted me to play Tajdar. That came as a shock. But I believe that this was just fate.

Q

What was the brief that Sanjay Leela Bhansali gave you?

A

To be very honest. he never really sat down and gave me a brief as such. We used to get all the scenes on set itself. When I got the scenes, I had an understanding that this character is someone who comes back from London, stands up against oppression, falls in love with a girl who belongs to Heeramandi but doesn’t know that. He’s a person who believes in one love. This is basically the understanding of my character. As and when I got the scenes, I believe the character opened up in my understanding and that's how we started developing. Sanjay sir would let me be free as an actor but wherever he felt that I needed to modify he would put me on the right path.

Q

Did you take any special preparations for stepping into the character?   

A

During the shoot, yes. There were a couple of scenes where I had to drive a truck. So, I was learning how to drive the truck; and of course Urdu. But honestly, I have been pursuing Urdu for a few years but polished the language further during the preparation.

Q

Was there any scene that you found challenging or easy while performing?

A

The most fun for me was whenever I did the intense scenes, like, say my last scene, because that demands a lot from you as an actor. That was quite challenging but the most fun. Being upside down for 5-6 hours, where its shown that I am drinking blood, its going into the throat, taking it out through the nose and its going into the eyes... Also, the romantic scenes that I have done with Alam were really fun. I believe that at the end of the day I’m a romantic, it’s something that comes out of me naturally. I have fallen in love before and have used all my past experiences.  

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Q

What’s that one takeaway from the series and working with Sanjay Leela Bhansali?

A

One takeaway is that God gave me a second chance and this is my second innings in life. For somebody like him (SLB), who could get anybody in the industry, the most popular actors, he chose somebody who was nothing. My takeaway is that generosity, love and blessing. This is like my re-debut because many of the people have never seen me before but this is going out to so many people.

Q

Alam and Tajdar have a very innocent romance blooming between them. What does romance mean to you?

A

Romance makes the world go round. When you truly fall in love with somebody they become your world. At least for me, that girl becomes my world. I am a die-hard romantic, maybe because my zodiac sign is a scorpion. If I fall for a girl, I am all for that girl. She is the only person for me, I only see her. I believe that’s a resemblance that I have with Tajdar. For me, romance is old-school. It’s in the eyes. It’s soulful.

Q

If there’s one thing you would want to bring back from the Heeramandi timeline to today, in 2024, what would it be and why?

A

Love letters or the innocent love. I believe in those times, love was very innocent. You didn’t have social media. If you truly love somebody then you were truly all there for that person. I definitely want to bring that back.

Besides that, I enjoyed the styling. The way the clothes were there, the adab, tehzeeb and the language, I want to bring it back. I think I have fallen in love with the language (Urdu) . I really look up to Javed Akhtar sahab and Gulzar sahab who are still pushing Urdu to the audiences and youth.

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Q

What does your fitness regimen look like?

A

It looks very tough! I’m a die–hard fan of action and action movies. I want to be big action star one day and an emotional one like Jackie Chan. As far as fitness is concerned it’s very important for me to be fit and also acquire skills as an actor. So over the years, I have practised taekwondo, boxing, gymnastic, calisthenics and dance. I have dedicated almost 11 years of my life to this. Fitness for me is to acquire skills.

Heeramandi is streaming on Netflix

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