From piling on eight kilos to being inspired by James Dean’s sartorial style, Tahir decodes his prep to play a gangster in Sultan of Delhi
A still from the series
Tahir Raj Bhasin believes that in some ways, fronting Sultan of Delhi is every boy’s dream come true. “You are playing an all-out alpha character, wearing vintage leather jackets, and using guns,” he smiles. In Milan Luthria’s debut web series, the actor plays the ambitious Arjun, who hopes to become Delhi’s most powerful gangster. “Doing an action drama, heavy on stunts and weapons, sounded incredibly exciting. With Milan Luthria [offerings], you expect grandeur and an element of hyper-realism [even] when the story is rooted,” says the actor.
Before shooting for the Disney+ Hotstar series, Bhasin understood that the director wanted the protagonist to be a swashbuckling hero. “He said, ‘This is a guy who enters the room and takes charge.’ For the part, I had to put on about eight kilos in a month. Then I underwent weapons training. For styling references, we looked at James Dean in terms of the hair and leather jackets. Closer home, Dharmendra-ji of the ’60s and Amitabh Bachchan sir of the ’70s were [our reference points].”
In his nine-year run, Bhasin has shone with his performances in Mardaani (2014), Chhichhore (2019) and Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein (2022). Sultan of Delhi, also starring Mouni Roy and Anupriya Goenka, is arguably his biggest series yet; its enormity comes from Luthria’s storytelling style that thrives on a big scale. Does Bhasin feel the pressure of fronting such a show? “As an artiste who came to this city looking for an opportunity, today I am in a privileged position where there are expectations from me. It would be spoilt or indulgent of me to say that I feel the pressure. I prayed for these moments.”