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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Fauda actor Tsahi Halevi to star in first Indo-Israeli film project

Actor-musician Tsahi Halevi talks about his Bollywood dream, art opening up a space for much-needed conversations, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, yoga and, of course, Indian food

Written by Rinku Ghosh | New Delhi |
Updated: May 6, 2022 8:44:29 pm
Tsahi HaleviTsahi Halevi (Photo: Instagram/ Tsahi Halevi)

Mahatma Gandhi is his ideal and has shaped his compassionate and optimistic worldview. “Every day I am inspired by his thinking that we should pursue our actions based on how they would influence somebody far away. He used non-violence as an effective tool to get his message across,” says Israeli actor-musician Tsahi Halevi, a known face in India courtesy the hit series Fauda. And now he is all set to star in the first Indo-Israeli co-production.

All praise for India’s creativity in the culture space, especially the new content on digital platforms and cinema, the actor, who is visiting the country for the first time to commemorate 30 years of India-Israel diplomatic relations, is excited about being a part of Bollywood.

Interacting with the media in Delhi, he said he’s been “trying to meet as many people from the entertainment industry in Mumbai as possible, understand its working and processes and see how we can work together. I am hoping for great things in Mumbai.”

Fauda, which many Indians got addicted to during the Covid lockdown in 2020, depicts the two-sided story of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and explores the moral dilemma of the human condition, the relativity of what is right and wrong. In fact, Halevi’s character seems humane in the series, one that has won him Indian fans on social media. “The Indian fanbase is amazing and big. On my social media handles, they are asking me how they can meet me and I am finding ways to meet some of them despite my tight schedule. I answer their queries as much as possible. As actors, the audience feedback is important for us and you can do that in real time on social media.”

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Considering that fresh violence had broken out between the Israelis and Palestinians during the making of Fauda, did events on the ground change his perspective on the conflict? “My perspective has never changed. I have maintained the same values from my childhood. I believe that when shells and missiles fall, it doesn’t matter if you are Muslim or Jew. Human lives are lost. In fact, everybody could relate to Fauda because it touched upon the human aspect of the conflict. Every viewer has felt the characters and their lives,” Halevi tells us.

He feels fortunate to be an artiste because “art allows the space for dialogue, for the middle ground, doesn’t have anything to do with politics and can go far beyond. We could have different viewpoints, have an argument but we must talk to each other, respect each other and listen. I believe all conflicts can be solved by talking to each other and it is very important to build bridges.” In fact, his debut film Bethlehem too was built around a holistic perspective and Halevi has since committed himself to be “part of projects that help us overcome ignorance, hatred, fear, overcome gaps between people, expand knowledge and nurture better thoughts.”

He also believes that any conflict can be solved if there is collective will. “I am an optimist. It’s easy to be a pessimist but that’s a choice we have to make. The moment we have the will to solve things and talk things through, great relationships between Arab Israelis and Jews will be possible too. We believe that a vast majority of our people are quiet but believe in peace. Many are optimistic and want a simple, honest life without any conflicts,” says Halevi.

As a diplomat’s son, he travelled to many countries till the age of 18 and that experience made him absorptive and open to multi-cultural influences. He shares his experience of growing up in Egypt four years after that nation signed a peace deal with Israel. “Beyond education, I got a lesson in humanity first hand. I was baby-sitting my sister in Cairo. She started crying and I couldn’t calm her down. So, I went down to the janitor of the building who was sitting around the fire with his wife. She pacified my sister and watched over her for two hours till our parents returned. You see that and realise what the human connect is.”


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A post shared by Tsahi Halevi (@tsahihalevi)

Halevi’s first love is music, having been a singer-songwriter till he got picked up for Bethlehem in 2013 because he could speak Arabic. In 2015, he released the single “Tamali Ma’aek”, a cover of an Arabic song. He has listened to some Indian music and sang “Tere jaisa yaar kahaan” from the film Yaarana during the celebration of the Indo-Israeli relationship in Delhi. He’s performed with Liora Yitzhak, who is known for singing Hindi film songs and featured in her videos. As of now, he is just feeling India by practising yoga, sampling our food (“I didn’t miss the food on the plane too”) and meeting people. “We are like big brother and small brother, we share a warmth of similarity,” adds Halevi.

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