Hello Folks! In this week’s #blabwithsandy, I have actor Taha Shah Badussha with me. Taha debuted in Bollywood with YRF’s youth wing production ‘Y-Films’ ‘Luv Ka the End’ opposite Shraddha Kapoor. He followed it up with films like ‘Gippi’, ‘Barkhaa’, ‘Baar Baar Dekho’, and ‘Ranchi Diaries’. Let’s wait no further and dive into the blab I had with Taaha:
Sandy: Hey, Taha. Hope you doing great out there!
Taha: Hi, Sandy! All good, thank you. 🙂
Sandy: Could you let us know about your early background?
Taha: I was born in the UAE. I was sent to a boarding school at Kodaikanal, which was my first and last exposure to India. I did stay for a short duration at Madras (Chennai) with my dad and later, we moved back to Dubai.
I was 17 when I went to a university in Dubai and that’s when I figured out my mom to be a strong woman. Being a single mother, raising two kids, she had to go through a lot of struggle. I dropped out of the university and joined our steel and cement business.
Sandy: That’s an inspirational journey. How and when did your film-making career start?
Taha: I was 21 when most of the countries faced the financial crisis in the year 2008. I decided to move out of the business and pursue my all time interest, modeling. I got a few offers in Dubai and whilst modeling, I felt the need to try acting. I told my mom about my interest and she agreed happily. But, I just kept it to telling my mom and did not pursue it. She is someone who never forgets anything and she did not miss out on this one!
She came to me and asked me why I wasn’t applying to any acting courses. I did not know Hindi and that made me take a step back. I still remember, she got stubborn and dragged me by my ears and took me to Abu Dhabi from Sharjah. I got myself registered for a one-year course at the NY Film Academy. It is always important to have supportive parents at home and I am glad that I had my mom with me during my initial stages and she still is there with me right now with her support!
Sandy: A few tidbits about your acting classes.
Taha: I came to Mumbai in November 2009 and joined Kishore Namit Kapoor. It was a 4-month course and I must admit, I learnt quite a lot about acting. During one of his classes, Kishore sir asked the class about our thoughts once we complete the course. Most of the people said they will get out of the course and struggle it out to get a film whereas I didn’t answer. When they asked me, I said, I will go out and get a film. That’s how positive I was and it’s all in the mind.
I started looking for auditions and kept visiting Lokhandwala and Andheri for two weeks with my bag carrying photographs. I visited every building that was having auditions and looked non-stop for such casting events.
I only knew acting and I wasn’t much into dancing or music. In the next 2-3 months, I met couple of people, gave more auditions but nothing was working out. One day, I met a friend who’d sent me around 300 email addresses of casting directors and one of them was YRF’s Shanoo Sharma. She replied back asking me to come and meet her. I met her and she liked my performance and told me she’d be calling me soon.
I was called for an audition on a day wherein Karan Johar was there to see a girl’s audition. I went to the building and while I was in the lift, I got a call stating Karan Johar doesn’t want to test the auditions for the male part and I was dejected. I did not tell them that I had already reached the audition building and I just left the place.
A month later I got a call for auditioning for a role in YRF’s latest Youth wing segment ‘Y-Films’. There were about 8-9 guys at the auditions. I did my part and a week later they signed me for the film. It was ‘Luv Ka the End’.
Sandy: That’s a crazy journey, haha! So, how was your experience of working with Shraddha Kapoor, was also new during the filming of ‘Luv Ka the End’.
Taha: Shraddha grew up in the industry and her dad Shakti Kapoor had worked in more than 800 films, whereas I had no connections at all. I knew no one and I had not lived in India too! If you know someone in the industry, the tone that people talk to you or you talk them changes. But, if you are unknown to the industry, you cannot talk randomly to anyone.
She was hard working and she had other things working for her. After ‘Luv Ka the End’, we had couple of interactions and she always replies back. She has no ego and is very down to earth. We had so much fun on the sets. She is friendly and has a great upbringing.
Sandy Though your first audition for a KJo film did not work out, you got to work immediately with him for his film ‘Gippi’. This is surreal but exciting!
Taha: Hahaha! Once ‘Luv Ka the End’ released, I was at the YRF office in its 4th floor. I was there to meet Aditya Chopra sir. While I was seated at the reception, Uday Chopra and Karan Johar came out from a room and I just stood up looking at them. Karan greeted me with a Hello and they left.
My mom had once told me that opportunities sometimes come right in front of you and all you need to do is grab them. I always carry a bag with me and at that moment, I just threw it and ran down to speak to Karan. His car had just left the premises and I ran fast to race against his car and finally got to bang his window. He stopped the car and asked me if I was okay. I conveyed my sorry and told him that I’d just did ‘Luv Ka the End’ and I want to show him my work. He responded well and gave me his number.
After two months, I got a chance to meet him and talk about my interest in working for his production. After a gap of eight months, I was called by him to audition and that’s how I bagged my role in his film ‘Gippi’.
Sandy: Your film Barkhaa earned good buzz prior to its release but it fizzled out at the BO! What do you think went wrong with the film?
Taha: I too think a lot about my films, with what went right and what went wrong. ‘Barkhaa’ could have done better in so many ways. I believe, it missed hitting the correct target audience. The story was set up in Ranchi and was more to the Bihar folks but the film was projected as a commercial entertainer.
I always believe that the producers should know the game and every aspect should be read in accordance. Marketing was not right for the film. The songs became a hit and I wanted the film to earn the same love but somehow the marketing strategies went haywire.
I also did a film called ‘Ranchi Diaries’ in order to make myself believe in myself that I could do any role. I was not good at Hindi but I took it as a challenge to master it during the filming of ‘Ranchi Diaries’. I had to tone my English accent and I was lucky to have acted alongside Jimmy Shergill and Anupam Kher as I learnt a lot from them.
Sandy: You were a part of the sensational film ‘Tino and Lolo’ which had Sunny Leone and Karishma Tanna as the leads. That film garnered superb craze but after its shoot, the film landed itself in release tussle. It has been brought by an OTT provider recently. What’s your take on it?
Taha: I don’t know much about that flick. Yes, it did generate so much buzz for its casting but somehow the film got stuck in a fund issue. It was like re-launching Sunny Leone with Karishma Tanna in it and it would have been good if it had a calm release. But, money matters are always tricky!
Quick Shot Round:
- Love: Its sacrifice
- Your biggest fear: Not living up to my potential
- When idle, Taha indulges in: He plans on what to do next
- Good and bad about the industry: Good is that the industry is a place for fulfilling your dreams. The bad is that it shows you a lot of dreams
- Your worst habit: I am an OCD person. You can say, cleanliness person
- If you’d to barter your career for a day with someone’s, whose would it be? President of USA
- Biggest Regret: So many!
- A recent movie that you loved watching: 1917
- Directors you’d like to work with: Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Sriram Raghavan, Karan Johar, Martin Scorsese, David Fincher, Christopher Nolan
Sandy: What’s in the pipeline for you in the coming months?
Taha: I’m having my immediate release in ‘Bekaboo 2’, a psycho thriller releasing on 15th March on ALT Balaji. It would be my digital web debut. I am also having a Bollywood film, a Hollywood project, and a couple of TV Shows coming up.
Sandy: Any piece of advice you’d like to give to the newcomers?
Taha: Yes! Time is the essence and you got to respect time. Always look for your weaknesses and figure out what you lack. You need to work on it. If you say you look good and you want to be an actor, that wouldn’t work. Good looks are only one part of the ensemble. You need to build on your other aspects and give it our 100%.
Editor’s note: It was a great interaction with Taha Shah. Wishing Taha a blockbuster film ride ahead, filled with hits and superhits!
Interview by Sandy (Sandeep Rao)
Follow Taha @taahashah
Follow Sandy @blabwithsandy
Special Thanks: Tushar