The young star shares his learnings after playing Murad in Zee5 Global Taj: Divided by Blood and also reveals his take on romance and dates!
UAE born and bred Taha Shah Badussha cracked Bollywood with an impressive debut in YRF’s Luv Ka The End with Shraddha Kapoor. And while he went on to do interesting projects, it’s his most recent outing as Prince Murad in the successful Zee5 Global series Taj that put the spotlight back on the young star! We caught up with the actor in Dubai and in a candid chat, he bares his heart about the struggles, his dreams, and garnering acclaim as he plays Murad to perfection! Excerpts
Taj is garnering much acclaim across, especially your role as Murad is being very highly appreciated…
Yes, it feels amazing to see how well it has been accepted. I mean, we’re here in Dubai talking about this show. Taj is all about heart, it’s all about family dynamics, family politics. And that’s what makes the show better.
“I’m a complete UAE kid. And in my biggest of dreams, I’d never imagined doing something like Taj and coming here to talk about it. I’m an outsider and I want to make it happen, not just for me but all the people in Dubai too. For all the people who are NRIs and who aspire to be there. To say that yes, it is possible. Might take 1 year might take 13. But if I can do it, anybody can do it. And this is still just the start.”
Has playing Murad changed you in some way on the personal front?
I think while playing Murad, I had to reach out to places where there was a lot of pain, trauma and angst in me. I remember that I was in my 12th grade, and for some reason that I do not know till date, all my friends just blacklisted me and cut me off. Like a decade of friendship, just over! So in my desire to internalize the character, it made me realise where my own pain originated from, and I tapped into that pain, all my heartbreaks and the rejections. So I think going back and deriving energy from all of that changed me as a person because now I faced it and I know that I have control. Now I know that I can be better than that, I can be forgiving. So Murad’s not forgiving but I learnt forgiveness. I don’t personally want to be the way Murad was! But playing Murad made me sort of face my demons and helped me overcome my own pain in a way.
As a kid were you fascinated by history?
To be very honest, as a kid I think it was more like studying history than knowing it because there were exams and all. So I wasn’t fond of the subject per se because dates yaad karne padte the aur dates ke maamle mein to main bilkul hi bakwaas hu.
Has that changed now?
Yes, because as you grow up, you understand the greatness and richness of our country’s history, especially India’s history of Independence. There’s so much to learn, imbibe, be proud of! I actually got very involved and engrossed in history as a story and not as a subject to be studied. I think it’s very fascinating to revisit and try to recreate that era. There’re so many more stories waiting to be told from our glorious history.
So, are you better with dates?
(Laughs) When you grow older the word ‘dates’ means so much more. So, yes ab toh dates mujhe bahut pasand hai (laughs).
What’s your idea of a perfect date?
Well, I don’t know! I never eat outside and always carry my food with me even when I go to my friends place for dinner. Even my friends are like, ‘What do you do on a date… You don’t drink, don’t eat out!’ And I’m like… yes, but that’s why it’s very difficult to get a girl who’ll understand all of that. Because there’s a lot of sacrifice there. I don’t go out partying, I have to sleep early, wake up early.
So no one on the scene right now?
There was somebody I was serious about, but it’s ended now. It’s very easy to be attracted to people, but it’s very rare to find that special person! Everything today has become like instant gratification. So, I do have somebody that I really like but I have not told her yet. It’s that kuch kuch hota hai pyaar dosti hai! So there’s friendship, respect, but more than that, it’s selfless. I feel like that’s a blessing to find someone like that!
Tell us more about your own journey… What are the lessons learnt here?
There’s one big lesson and that’s what is not meant to be won’t happen no matter how hard you try and at the same time, what’s yours will find its way to you. It’s not like I don’t believe in hard work a hundred per cent, I do! I’ve done a lot of legwork and I’m completely for it, you know the networking, trying and hustling and hustling. But at the end of the day, it’s not going to happen agar aapki kismet mein na ho. It’s very simple. As an actor your craft is in your hand, not your success. So you work on your craft. I think the biggest takeaway for the last 13 years of my life in this industry, I would say is that what has to happen will happen. We just got to give it our 100 per cent and not keep any grudges, not put our heart into something ki agar ye nahi hua then I will be unhappy. No. what makes me happy is my regular routine, whether I have success or failure! You wake up, you work hard on your skill, go out there and try the best you can!
Even with the OTT? It has changed the dynamics of the game especially for actors and filmmakers!
And that’s why there’s more creativity, more opportunity. Casting also happens basis the requirement of the role. At times, it’s the performance, or a certain look that matters the most and you can be an absolute newcomer and then there is content that needs you to have a very large social media following and influence. To sum it up, there is enough space for everyone to thrive! Thank fully The system is as diverse as it can get.
How was it working with Naseer Sir (Naseeruddin Shah) in Taj?
He’s a legend! And yet when he was around us, he was never like ‘I think we should do this.’ He was always like ‘How do you guys think we should do this?’ and I’m like… it’s a trick question (laughs). There was just so much to learn from him, I would constantly talk to him about his roles and films. He’s a lover of the craft.
What’s been your strength through it all?
You need trainers, coaches, a team… I have big dreams but if I didn’t have my mom sacrificing to help me sustain my dreams, I would have succumbed to the pressures and expectations all around me and may have packed off and come back permanently. She has so much faith in me. I just want to show that she was right all along!
What’s next for you?
I’ve some interesting projects coming out soon. It’s a dream and unki kahani bilkul alag hai. I can’t mention anything but it’s the biggest thing in my life and I just want to say that like I said, I didn’t plan for it and it just happened.
Any more period dramas on the cards for you?
Now that you ask, yes I’m planning to go something even more periodic than this. We’re in the writing process right now. It’s going to be a complete action film and we’re going to try and show something that’s not been seen in Indian cinema before. We plan to an international crew with Indian crew. I’m very excited about it.