From playing the baddie in Mardaani to now starring in a classy and stylish gangster drama series in the form of Sultan of Delhi on Disney+ Hotstar, Tahir Raj Bhasin's journey is one to be looked at. The actor had instances of not getting the kind of work he would have loved to, but in the past couple of years, he has been on an absolute roll.
In an exclusive at-length conversation with us, we asked Bhasin about how is it that the creator of the series, the legendary Milan Luthria, cracks the gangster drama better than others and if there were any childhood fantasies or dreams that were fulfilled while shooting for a show like this.
Q. How and what is about Milan Luthria that he cracks that language or the tonality of, you know, mafia or gangster drama? I mean, why is that he's doing something better than so many others who've tried? And how did he make sure that happened with the Sultan of Delhi as well?
I think there's one thing that comes to mind when you hear the word Milan Luthria, and that's style. And what he does incredibly well is that he unapologetically goes one notch over realism, where he just brings in that dash of glamour and style and brightens up the frame literally and otherwise in terms of costumes and the colour palette that he chooses. And I think that's what makes it extremely entertaining. So, you know, the world might be dark. It still seems like it's an adventure that's on. And that's what makes it exciting for the viewer. It's what makes it exciting for the actors. And for every project that he has ever done, there's always been a memorable look of a character that he has created or a memorable action sequence. And I think that's the mark of a great director that, of course, your story does well, and people go away feeling very satisfied and entertained at what they've watched. But also, the characters that you've created hold a place in public memory.ALSO READ: 'Koffee With Karan S8': Karan Johar offers a peek at the revamped iconic couch, hamper & a lot more - WATCH
The 12-year-old me would have been really excited that I managed to take this off the boxes, and just one of those that comes to mind is just like wearing a leather jacket, shooting an AK-47 in the desert, like that's just like such a classic, like a gangsta cool thing to be doing.-
Q. What were the kinds of personal checklists, fantasies or dreams?
For me, it's so much about, and it's funny, we were talking about this the other day where you can when you see the trailer, you realize the scale of what it is that you've created because when you're in the moment, creating those scenes, you very often forget what it is and the depth of, because you're involved in the depth of what that character is, but it's only when you see it that you realize, 'Oh my God, like this was like childhood', like the 12-year-old me would have been really excited that I managed to take this off the boxes and just one of those that comes to mind is just like wearing a leather jacket, shooting an AK-47 in the desert, like that's just like such a classic, like a gangsta cool thing to be doing. I use the word gangsta as, like, you know, the hip-hop version of gangsta, not the criminal version of gangster. It's just a gangsta thing to be doing.
And the other one would definitely be, because it's Milan Luthria, and he's always like like a train is always a character in a lot of the things that he does, just being on a train and being shot with on a drone and having a conversation with a co-star on top of a train is just such a cool thing, because again, like not only Milan Luthria's work, but it's a train you associate with Sholay, you associate a train with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Every iconic friendship story has a train sequence. And so that was definitely one for the history books, my personal history book. There are certain elements that you were just talking about in a larger-than-life kind of cinema, that kind of story; there would be an action sequence, a car running down a deserted area, you firing guns, you are on top of a train, you are shooting on a ship. These are the elements that you rarely get to portray as an actor.ALSO READ: Review: 'Sultan of Delhi' satisfies the craving to watch a slick & stylish gangster drama to a large extent