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Meet the Dubai actor who Naseeruddin Shah wants to work with

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Lekha Menon

If there is one word that describes Tahaa Shah best, it is tenacity. Having observed the Sharjah-born actor for over a decade now, his determination and focus has been commendable, as well as his ability to adapt and reinvent. His journey in the glamour industry has not been an easy one by any means and like any other “outsider”, he has seen his share of successes, failures, triumphs and heartbreaks.

Over the years, he has been seen in films like Luv Ka The End (a YRF production), Baar Baar Dekho (a Karan Johar and Farhan Akhtar produced venture), Gippy (Dharma) among many others. They yielded mixed results but his love for cinema, dedication to his craft and never-say-die attitude keeps him going in Mumbai.

However, it would seem that the talented youth, now a Dubai resident, is finally getting his due. Tahaa’s portrayal as Murad, one of Akbar’s sons in the ZEE5 show Taj: Divided by Blood is being appreciated by one and all. The plot, detailing the palace intrigues and struggle for power in Akbar’s court, is fascinating, but the actors lined up for this make it more fascinating.

With veteran Naseeruddin Shah and Dharamendra leading the cast, and Aditi Rao Hydari, Sandhya Mridul, Ashim Gulati and Zarina Wahab among others headlining it, Taaha is in great company. We met during his stopover in Dubai and chatted about life, the show and the art of being tenacious!

 

‘Taj: Divided by Blood’ has put you in the spotlight once again. What else are you busy with these days?

Aside from promoting Taj, I am working on a few projects. An interesting one is for Amazon, a comedy show. It has a sitcom, Friends-like feel that is quite enjoyable. I am really looking forward to its release. Then I am also working on a huge production, unfortunately I can’t reveal details of it just yet. But I promise, it will be huge! Finally, I am also doing a film, Ikroop, that will be released on Sony Liv or Hotstar or maybe even the big screen. Besides, I have started developing projects of my own as well, have started writing and looking at production details for them.

Writer Lekha Menon interviews Tahaa Shah Badussha at the India Club in Dubai. Courtesy Box Office Events

With so many shows and movies being produced for OTT, has the increased number of platforms resulted in greater opportunities for actors like you?

Yes and No. Sure, there are a lot of projects happening but you want to be part of ventures that take off and would be considered good and credible. Otherwise, it’s like doing any other run-of-the-mill TV show which won’t help you in any way. Hence, having patience and keeping the faith is important. I have said no to so many projects because I didn’t want to do ordinary stuff.

 

How difficult is it to say no to work?

It is a risk to wait for the right one but at the end of the day you need to know where you see yourself and work accordingly. If you don’t, nothing will fall into place. You should have that belief. I try and keep working to make myself better and better each day, for then when the opportunity strikes, it strikes hard. As they say, opportunity meets preparation = success. The same thing happened with Taj and my other current projects. The opportunity came and I was prepared for it.

In the last 14 years of my life, the one conclusion I have come to is that when you want something really hard, most of the time it won’t come to you. But you can’t allow that to get you down, you need to get up, pick the pieces and move on. You need to constantly upskill, learn what you need to and keep moving.

 

What’s the best compliment you have got recently?

Naseeruddin Shah said something incredible. At a screening event of a few episodes, he came up to me and said, “Son, I am so proud of you, I didn’t expect this from you.” He gave me a kiss and added, “You and me… we have to do a movie now.” That is my biggest reward – him coming up to me and saying he wants to work with me and not the other way round! It was unbelievable! I made him say it on camera for it was so unbelievable!

Of course, I have got a great response for my character, Murad. A lot of people send me messages about my performance which were great but the compliment from Naseeruddin Shah was something else altogether.

Journalist for 25 years with leading publications in India and UAE such as The National, Mumbai Mirror, DNA, Indian Express and former Sports Editor of eIndia.com. Now managing editor of Headline.ae, part of MEMc (https://www.memc.co)

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Shah Rukh Khan roots for KKR with his ‘Pathaan’ director Siddharth Anand during RR clash

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Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], April 16 (ANI): Baadshah of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan, is here to cheer for his IPL team, the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

Donning a casual look, SRK opted for a white t-shirt that he teamed up with jeans and a pair of sunglasses.

The social media handle of KKR dropped a video from the match in which SRK can be seen making an entry in style and rooting for the boys.

Sharing the video, they wrote, “KKR’s lucky charm has arrived at Eden.”KKR’s social media team added ‘Baadshah O Baadshah’ track to the video to make it more captivating.

SRK was accompanied by ‘Pathaan’ director Siddharth Anand.

Talking about the match, table-toppers Rajasthan Royals (RR) is locking horns with second-placed Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Tuesday. Rajasthan Royals are currently at top of the IPL 2024 standings with 10 points and a net run rate of 0.767. The Royals have won five matches and lost one.

RR won toss and opted to field first.

Rajasthan Royals (Playing XI): Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson (w/c), Riyan Parag, Dhruv Jurel, Shimron Hetmyer, Rovman Powell, Ravichandran Ashwin, Trent Boult, Avesh Khan, Kuldeep Sen, Yuzvendra ChahalKolkata Knight Riders (Playing XI): Philip Salt (w), Sunil Narine, Angkrish Raghuvanshi, Shreyas Iyer (c), Venkatesh Iyer, Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Ramandeep Singh, Mitchell Starc, Varun Chakaravarthy, Harshit Rana.

On the work front, SRK returned to the silver screen with Siddharth Anand’s ‘Pathaan’ in January 2023.

The film in which SRK donned an awe-evoking action avatar broke several records at the box office and managed to grab a name in the list of one of the highest-grossing films in the Indian film industry.

The film also marked SRK’s first hit after his sabbatical of four years after a series of flicks such as ‘Zero’ and ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’. After ‘Pathaan’, King Khan returned to theatres in September with ‘Jawan’.

The film once again saw SRK in an action avatar. The film collected over Rs 1000 crore . at the worldwide box office. Needless to say, SRK, who has had a phenomenal run, did not stop here.

In December, he came up with ‘Dunki’, which also did decent business at the box office.

Helmed by RajKumar Hirani, ‘Dunki’ focuses on the issue of immigration. Its title is taken from the term “donkey journey,” which refers to the long, winding, and often dangerous routes that people across the world take to reach the places they want to immigrate to. He has not announced his next project yet.

However, if reports are to be believed, he will be seen sharing screen space with Salman Khan in ‘Tiger vs Pathaan’. The film will reportedly have Tiger (Salman) locking horns with Pathaan, played by Shah Rukh Khan. It will mark their full-fledged collaboration after ‘Karan Arjun’. The official announcement regarding the project is still awaited. (ANI)

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In first public appearance since firing incident, Salman ushers CM Shinde into his Mumbai residence

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], April 16 (ANI): In his first public appearance since the firing incident outside his upscale Bandra residence, superstar Salman Khan stepped out to welcome Chief Minister Eknath Shinde as he arrived to meet at the Galaxy Apartments on Tuesday.

In a video clip of the visit that was widely circulated across social media platforms, Salman was seen ushering CM Shinde into his residence.

Salman’s father and popular screenplay and dialogue writer from yesteryear, Salim Khan, politician Baba Siddique and his son Zeeshan Siddique were also inside the actor’s apartment as CM Shinde came calling.

In the clip, CM Shinde was seen having a discussion with the superstar, with the others seated around them.

The chief minister assured Salman and his family members of their safety, adding that they were being provided with increased security cover in light of the firing incident.

In the immediate aftermath of the incident on Sunday, last week, CM Shinde spoke to Salman over the phone and provided him with additional security cover. Shinde also brought up the firing incident with the Mumbai Police Commissioner and suggested increasing the superstar’s security.

He assured Salman that the government was with him and he need not worry.

Earlier, on Tuesday, Kutch Police arrested the two accused persons and handed them to the Mumbai Crime Branch. Later, a city court sent the two accused to the custody of the Mumbai Crime Branch until April 25 in connection with the firing incident.

The accused, identified as Vicky Gupta (24) and Sagar Pal (21) from Bihar, were presented before the court after a medical examination.

The two men, who came on a motorbike, fired four rounds outside the Galaxy Apartments, where the actor resides, around 5 am on Sunday morning and fled.

CCTV footage showed that both accused sported caps and carried backpacks. The clip also showed them firing in the direction of the actor’s home.

After the arrest of the accused, Kutch DSP AR Zankant said preliminary investigations revealed that the accused were in contact with the Lawrence Bishnoi gang.

“Mumbai Police is investigating the case of firing outside the residence of actor Salman Khan. We informed the Kutch Police that the two accused had fled to the Gujarat district. Different teams were formed to catch the accused. They were eventually arrested by the Kutch Police and handed over to the Mumbai Police. During primary interrogation of the accused, we learned that they were in contact with the Lawrence Bishnoi gang,” DSP Zankant said.

Notably, since November 2022, Salman’s security level has been elevated to Y-Plus after threats from gangsters Lawrence Bishnoi and Goldy Brar. The actor was also authorised top carry a personal firearm and has also acquired a new armoured vehicle for added protection.

On Monday, Salman’s brother Arbaaz Khan issued a statement on the family’s behalf, saying they all have been affected due to the ‘disturbing’ firing incident.

“The recent incident of firing by two unidentified person in a motorcycle at Galaxy apartment the residence of the Salim Khan family is very disturbing and unnerving. Our family has been taken aback by this shocking incident that took place. Unfortunately, some people claiming to be close to our family and pretending to be the spokesperson have been making loose statements to the media saying it’s all a publicity stunt and the family remains unaffected which is not true and these views should not be taken seriously,” the statement read.

He also shared that the family was fully cooperating with the Mumbai Police in the ongoing probe into the incident.

“No member of the Salim Khan family has made any statement regarding this incident to the media. At this time, the family is helping and cooperating with the police in the investigation of this untoward incident. We have faith in the Mumbai police and we have been assured they will do everything in their capacity to protect and secure our family. Thank you everyone for your love and support,” Arbaaz added in his statement. (ANI)

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Keanu Reeves will voice Shadow in ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 3’

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Washington [US], April 16 (ANI): ‘John Wick’ star Keanu Reeves will be voicing ‘Shadow’ in the upcoming action-adventure comedy film ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 3’, according to Variety.

He joins a cast that includes Ben Schwartz as Sonic, as well as Jim Carrey as the villainous Dr Robotnik, the sources have confirmed.

‘Shadow’ first appeared in 2001’s ‘Sonic Adventure 2’, and he has since become one of the franchise’s most famous characters as an edgy antihero. He’s also often an antagonist to Sonic.

Reeves’ filmography includes ‘Speed’, ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’, ‘My Own Private Idaho’, and the ‘Matrix’ trilogy. He will next star in the ‘John Wick’ spinoff, ‘Ballerina’, opposite Ana de Armas (his character’s unveiling in a new teaser released last week at CinemaCon drew enormous acclaim from the gathering of movie theatre executives, demonstrating the actor’s box office success). Reeves will also co-star in ‘Good Fortune’ with Aziz Ansari, Seth Rogen, Keke Palmer, and Sandra Oh.

Jeff Fowler, who oversaw the first two ‘Sonic’ movies, is returning as the director of the latest sequel. Neal H Moritz, Toby Ascher, Toru Nakahara and Hitoshi Okuno will produce ‘Sonic 3’, which will open in theatres on Dec. 20, 2024.

The franchise is one of Paramount’s most successful, with the combined global box office for “Sonic the Hedgehog” and “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” standing at 725.2 million dollars. The studio is also making a spin-off series, “Knuckles,'” that will premiere on Paramount, reported Variety. (ANI)

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