Actor Tahir Raj Bhasin has mixed emotions about Chhichhore winning the 67th National Film Award. On actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s first death anniversary, Tahir terms the win ‘a bittersweet experience’. In an interview with indianexpress.com, Tahir shares memories of working with Sushant, and how the late actor’s achievements and life inspired him professionally and personally.
About the National Award win, Tahir says, “It was an absolute incredible experience for me. For me, Chhichhore was a major turning point because it was the first time I played a character who was very emotional. Derek really romanticises winning the tournament, and I have never played a character with such a soft side. It really opened up the kind of roles that I have been offered after that. The audience started to look at me differently and it is very rare that you get to be a part of the film that gets box-office success and a National Award.”
He continues, “Chhichhore winning the National Award was bittersweet news. While we were celebrating a big win for the film, we all wished Sushant was with us.”
Sushant Singh Rajput died on June 14 in 2020. Tahir remembers SSR as an actor par excellence, who was also an intellectual.
Tahir says, “I remember SSR being a very focused actor and also the most intelligent co-star I’ve ever worked with. He really believed that an artiste is remembered for their work, and that was the most positive aspect about him. He was so much more than the movies that he was a part of, he was an intellectual and had diverse interests, he was constantly working on self-growth. And it really showed in the fact that he was a self-made star, and such a great motivating force for us all.”
Nitesh Tiwari’s Chhichhore (2019) starring Sushant Singh Rajput, Shraddha Kapoor, Tahir Raj Bhasin, Varun Sharma among others, received a lot of love for its poignance and relevance in today’s day and age of college friendships and education. Tahir recalls his experience working with the film’s team, especially Sushant Singh Rajput, with whom he had also acted with in Kai Po Che!, which was SSR’s feature film debut.
“Something about SSR that really stood out for me was that how generous he was with praise. I had done a small role in Kai Po Che, his debut feature film. It was nostalgic for the both of us to watch that little clip together. From there, we played brothers-buddies in this film. He had such a spectacular journey — from dancing in a troop, then to TV and films. It was great to be able to share my journey with someone who had achieved more in one life time than most people achieve in three lifetimes,” an emotional Tahir shares.
Calling Chhichhore’s success a ‘validation of Sushant’s last film choice’, Tahir says, “One of the things that struck me when the story of Chhichhore was narrated was not only how it was going to be so entertaining, but also how it was going to leave such a powerful emotional message. Don’t judge yourself on the basis of what society calls you or what your education system calls you. Judge it based on your own efforts. I think the victory of the film was how it reached every age group and every generation. It was such a great film on what winning and losing is about, so while we weren’t expecting the National Award win, it was a great validation of Sushant’s last film choice.”
On the work front, Tahir will next be seen in Loop Lapeta opposite Taapsee Pannu and Netflix’s Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein.
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