Tahir Raj Bhasin says as an actor, his endeavour is to turn in some incredibly nuanced performances while also becoming a "bankable star" who could carry any film or series on his shoulders. The actor gained prominence following his breakout debut as the antagonist in 2014’s "Mardaani" and later with John Abraham-starrer "Force 2". In recent years, he was seen in supporting roles in films such as Nandita Das’s directorial "Manto", coming-of-age dramedy "Chhichhore" and Ranveer Singh-led sports ensemble "83".
Bhasin has started the year 2022 on a positive note as he received universal praise for his Netflix series "Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein" and now he is gearing up for feature film "Looop Lapeta", co-starring Taapsee Pannu.
"I am excited about four releases this year, besides some other projects which are not announced officially yet," Bhasin told PTI in a zoom interview.
"It is exciting that the audience today is accepting variety and the same actor can be doing different genres and be accepted. For me, it is always about how I take myself up. I am my own competition," he added.
Bhasin, 34, said that being in the business of filmmaking for the past several years has taught him a lesson that talent aside, one needs to be a bankable star as well.
"While creatively it is about how you bring authenticity, heart and soul to a project, being bankable is also important. My goal is how to bridge those two -- how to be a good actor and star and stop the distinction between those lines," he said.
The actor's new film "Looop Lapeta" is the Hindi adaptation of the 1998 German film "Run Lola Run", directed by Tom Tykwer and starring Franka Potente in the lead.
Directed by first-time filmmaker Aakash Bhatia, the upcoming thriller follows an adventurous ride through a sticky situation where Savi (Pannu) is on a mission to rescue her boyfriend Satya (Tahir Raj Bhasin).
In the film, Pannu’s Savi is stuck in a time loop and gets multiple chances to save Satya's life. "It was an exciting opportunity to play a character whose world is in contrast and conflict. Satya is flawed. He passionately loves Savi and wears his heart on his sleeve and doesn’t necessarily know how to show it in the best way and when he does try, he makes these series of mistakes that drive the story into this absolute chaos.
"He is a jholer, who is constantly looking for shortcuts, but is vulnerable, soft, romantic and a mess at the same time,” Bhasin said. The Delhi-born actor said it was challenging for him to bring in certain nuances in his performances, especially when he is unaware that his girlfriend (Pannu) is in a time loop.
"The challenge of being the first to bring such a cult classic here in Bollywood and take up a complicated concept in science and present it in a way that is fun and entertaining. Yash Khanna (cinematographer) and Aakash (director) have done an amazing job in doing that.
"For me, the challenge is how do I change without the change, like mannerisms and how to put it differently,” Bhasin added.
Bhasin said he would not call “Looop Lapeta” a remake but an adaptation as the lead characters of Satya and Savi have been contextualised for the Indian audience.
Bhatia, who makes his directorial debut with the movie, said in terms of story, the goal was not to just remake the original film but to take the germ of a thought and present it differently.
"The storytelling assets that we have in our film are very Indian. The biggest challenge was to make sure that we don’t step on the toes of the original classic but make a completely fresh film without really disrespecting the original," he said.
Bhatia also said the team did want to break the stereotype that exists in pop culture of a man saving a woman.
"In ‘Looop Lapeta’ there is a beautiful relation that Satya and Savi share and it is not a stereotypical relationship. The journey of 50 minutes is where her realisation of love happens for Satya as she is motivated by Satya to save him. The entire journey of saving him is her biggest expression of love."
Bhatia said he found the process of recreating key moments on screen particularly exhilarating.
"The challenge was creating a story and screenplay and shooting it in three different ways, where you get the memory of what you have seen but there is an added point of view in the second or third run.
"To create that was very exhilarating because I get to tell a story (again) by adding an element which wasn’t there earlier. In our film, Taapsee’s character is the only one who is aware of the loop, none of the other characters are but still their stories are also progressing," he said.
"Looop Lapeta" is set to bow out on February 4 on Netflix.