Luck By Chance?

He’s Bollywood’s hottest new star and he doesn’t even have any filmi connections. Momtaz Begum-Hossain speaks to the new kid on the block; Taaha Shah.

Posted: 25.07.12

It’s the stuff dreams are made of. Good looking boy heads to Mumbai in search of fame and fortune and before he even makes it onto page 3, is snapped up by one of the biggest movie houses in the industry with a three film deal.
You may not have heard of Taaha Shah yet but he’s already hot on the heels of his peers Imran, Ranbir and Ranveer, becoming the new boy in the business that everyone wants to sign up.
Rewind the story a couple of years. Just like Farhan Aktar in the 2009 super hit Lucky By Chance, Taaha decided to enrol at an acting school, even though he had a background in business and no performance credentials. After completing a diploma at the New York Film Academy in Dubai, at the age of 22, he packed his bags and took the first plane to Mumbai.
Crazy? Yes. Scary? Absolutely. Taaha reveals; ‘I came to India as an outsider but so was Shah Rukh Khan. You have to start somewhere and I had no idea if India would make me feel welcome. I wasn’t just an outsider to the film fraternity, I grew up in Dubai so even being in India was a culture shock.’
After coming to terms with the fact Mumbai beach, is more of a sand pit compared to the luscious beaches he was used to back home, Taaha got straight to work knocking on the doors of the most prominent filmmakers – one of whom was Yash Raj, who took an instant liking to him.

Taaha explains: ‘I landed a role in a film called Luv Ka The End where I play a villain called Luv Nanda – well a villain where girls are concerned! I had been told that Aditya Chopra liked me but it was five months until I finally met him. One day while I was shooting I was summoned to meet him. His office is hidden away on the fourth floor; it’s a secret den! It was one of the most surreal moments of my life.
He said he’d heard good things about me, but that we had to wait and see how the film went and if it was successful, he would look at how we could take things forward.’
If only everything in life was as simple as charming an influential film producer. Shortly after the release of the film, Taaha was signed to do two more film under the Yash Raj banner.

But it wasn’t just the masters of melodrama that fell under his charms. K-Jo too has become a firm friend with Taah starring in Karan’s forthcoming film Gippi.
Which begs the question. Have they been for coffee yet? Taaha confirms: ‘Of course! I love meeting up for Koffee With Karan! He is very sweet, energetic and a great conversationalist. He even took me home to meet his mum and introduced me as a new actor!’

But being the ‘new actor’ isn’t just about having the looks and learning a few lines. Over the last few months Taaha has thrown himself into preparing himself for the world of entertainment by undertaking courses in everything from magic to image management.

Taaha admits: ‘This is an industry where you have to take care of yourself. Over the last four months I’ve learnt about hair styling, make-up and even colour psychology – what you wear can really have an effect on first impressions.’

Taaha has also had to face his fears when it came to mastering the dance moves.
Proving he’s not just serious about his work, but has a sense of humour, in his first film he agreed to star in the main item number as a cross dressing. And to prove he could step up to the likes of Munni and Sheila, he even confesses to having wondered around his hotel dressed in women’s clothes and pouting at guests. Check out the track The Mutton Song to see him in action.

Though don’t be fooled by the wiggling. He’s real passion is not to be the next Hrithik (who he cites as having the best body and moves in the industry), Taaha’s biggest fantasy is to be cast in a high-octance action thriller were he can perform his own stunts.
He admits: ‘Martial arts is a huge passion of mine. I also spend a lot of time at the gym and doing activities like parkour and yoga. I want to prove that if you’re good enough you can make it big in Bollywood without having grown up in the film business. I’m going to give it my best shot and hopefully become as strong and successful as my idol; Dharmendra.’

Catch Taaha Shah in Luv Ka The End and the forthcoming Karan Johar film Gippi.


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