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I went through extensive physical as well as mental preparation for Taj: Taha Shah Badussha
Ever since the trailer of the upcoming web show Taj- Divided by blood released, there has been immense excitement across the internet to witness the untold and unheard realities from the Mughal era. While history books in school taught us about Akbar the great, and his successor Jahangir, it’s not known to many that Akbar had three sons. Playing the middle child, Murad, Taha Shah Badussha unleashes the beast within, to play the menacing, ruthless, power-hungry and passionate prince.
Gearing for the role wasn’t an easy task for the young actor, in fact, Taha Shah Badussha had to undergo an extensive training regime that prepared him physically as well as mentally to ace his part.
Talking about his physical training for playing Murad, Taha Shah Badussha reveals, “I went through extensive physical as well as mental preparation for Taj- Divided by blood. Playing a royal entity entails learning a whole lot of skills physically, from riding a horse to acing weaponry, as well as imbibing the mannerisms and body language of a prince and a warrior at the same time. It was definitely a few challenging months. I started off with a few horseriding classes which were arranged by the film team. But I felt that I wasn't really touching the potential of acing the skill, so I joined another horse riding school by myself. I would eventually take two horse riding schools by myself, and I would go there at about 6:30-7:00 in the morning every day for almost a month and a half. After that, I would also go for the other classes that was conducted by the film team for us in the evening. Amidst that, there would also be my own physical training, but specifically for the show, I trained in swords fighting and axe fighting. I specifically brought down a coach from Delhi, on my own expense, and Aftab Bhai has been so incredible in teaching me to work with the stick, the sword and the axe. He also actually made this one axe for me, whichI have with me and I practice with it even till today. It has become a part of my practise routine and kind of a hobby too. In addition to teaching me the tricks of the axe, how to flip it and turn it around, he also trained me in double swords, which I would practise for at least an hour or two everyday. A result of which have been the many many cuts on my hands, because of consistently rotating it and swinging it around. Overall, my journey include a lot of blisters, some blood and a lot of sweat. Apart from the personal training, we also had action classes to learn the choreographies, we had a whole team of people who set up the choreography. The stunt director Daniel Locicero, who has earlier worked on films like Mission Impossible: Fallout and Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, came down from LA and is also a good friend now, choreographed the whole fight sequence in LA sent us the recording and then we would try and copy or imitate what he did. Over time, we also created some of our own choreography, because I'm just a big fan of action and I train in it every day, so we just thought that we can use some of my strong points.“
Adding further, Taha said, “While the physical training was exhausting, it was aided by multiple people who helped and supported me at every turn, however, the mental preparation was another level of daunting. Murad is a very dark character, ruthless, merciless and unwavering in his approach. Although there’s good and bad in each of us, as we grow with age and experience, we learn to suppress our evils and nurture the goodness. However, for Murad, I had to delve into my darker side, I had to go back into the past, to all the people who in my life that have abused me, have insulted me have made me feel insecure or made me feel unloved, unwanted. I had to channel that rage in my character, however, not go all Murad on them, as my character would directly chop their heads off. The ability to draw just the sufficient amount of inspiration and bounce back to reality has been a challenge, but I’m glad I could feel those emotions, I feel much more connected with my emotions now and I have also gotten better at controlling them.”
Taha Shah Badussha, also took diction lessons for his character to ace his Urdu enunciation and pronunciations. Shooting in heavy armours and costumes on grand sets has truly been a challenging yet enriching experience for the actor.
Releasing on 3rd March, Taj-divided by blood also stars Naseeruddin Shah, Dharmendra, Aditi Rao Hyadri amongst others.