Exclusive: Taher Shabbir, the actor from Manikarnika and Fan, is in the spotlight once again with his role in Guilty
How do you choose between your work and your righteousness when your moral standards are in question — that’s a dilemma that actor Taher Shabbir effectively portrays through his role as Danish Ali Beig in Guilty. His character is that of a lawyer, a Rhodes scholar, a man of few words, whom one ends up liking quite a bit, as he is the harbinger of change in this movie with a message. “The role I essayed was in stark opposition to my personality. I am chirpy and vivacious. As (director) Ruchi Narain says, this role made me shut up because I talk a lot,” says the actor.
This film has a few poignant scenes and Taher wanted to make sure he conveyed it right through nuanced acting. “I do stand for the aspects of feminism, and I believe cinema is such a powerful medium. So I wanted to play my role in such a way that the right message could be delivered,” shares the 33-year-old, who started acting only four years ago, but his role in the Netflix film screened over 190 countries, catapulted him into the spotlight.
“Before the shoot, we all had extensive workshops with the acclaimed coach and mentor Atul Mongia. Also, Ruchi is one of the best directors — she’s so methodical and thoughtful. We rehearsed every scene more than five times,” says the Mumbai-based actor. However, landing the role wasn’t easy, he tells us. “I auditioned and hoped against hope that it would work out. I even told the casting director that I am going to camp outside his home to get this role right! And then, one fine day, I got a call, and it was a dream come true,” says the actor, who shares screen space with Kiara Advani, Akansha Ranjan and Gurfateh Singh Pirzada in Guilty. He also had to work quite a bit to get into the skin of his character, given that the film revolves around a subject so dark and hard-hitting. “It was a challenge as there are so many layers to this character,” he says, confessing that he had to train hard at the gym to put on around 14 kgs for this film.