Tahir Raj Bhasin: Working with Nawazuddin Siddiqui on ‘Manto’ was a live masterclass
Tahir Raj Bhasin has gone down memory lane as his movie ‘Manto’ has completed three years of its release in Hindi cinema. He says working with actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui on the film was a live masterclass. ‘Manto’, released in 2018, is a biographical drama about the prominent Indo-Pakistani, author and writer Saadat Hasan Manto directed by Nandita Das. Nawazuddin plays Saadat Hasan Manto and Tahir essays the role of 1940s Bollywood superstar Shyam Chadda.
Tahir said: “Working with Nawazuddin Siddique on Manto was a live masterclass. Shyam Chadha, the 1950’s film star (Tahir’s character in the film), and Manto were a real life duo who had epic adventures with the backdrop of 50’s Bombay cinema.”
“Translating this friendship on screen meant doing a range of scenes from a brotherly bond to a drastic conflict and a sudden parting of ways. To explore all of these shades with a co-star like Nawaz was a super treat. His timing, sense of humour and humility are things that I imbibed while shooting Manto.”
Tahir shared that Nandita Das is a director with impeccable taste and this shows in the films she creates.
“She brought out a nuanced performance from me which wouldn’t have been possible were it not for her eye for detail. The film’s journey was supersonic. We transitioned from shooting in the villages of Gujarat to the Red Carpet at Cannes within a year.”
He recalled walking the red carpet at Cannes and representing the country.
Tahir added: “Walking the red carpet, representing India at Cannes, interacting with international press and the festival jury for Manto was surreal. To experience this with two of Indian cinema’s tycoons Nawaz and Nandita at Cannes, was the icing on the cake.”
Tahir revealed why he chose ‘Manto’ after acing being a baddie on screen with ‘Mardaani’ and ‘Force 2’.
“‘Manto’ for me was the chance to work shoulder to shoulder with Nawazuddin Siddique. Like in sport, in acting too your game in a pairing is only as good as your co-star. To work with Nawaz was a great challenge and meant diving into the deep end and exploring the many layers in the friendship between the 50’s film star Shyam Chaddha and Manto,” he said.
Tahir will now be seen in ‘Looop Lapeta’, ‘Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein’ and will also play the role of Sunil Gavaskar in Kabir Khan’s ’83’.