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Tahir Raj Bhasin on Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein: Man or woman, consent is a two-way street- Cinema express

Tahir Raj Bhasin on Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein: Man or woman, consent is a two-way street

Actor Tahir Raj Bhasin, Shweta Tripathi and Anchal Singh spill the tea about their Netflix show Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein

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Published: 15th January 2022
A still from Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein

Pursuit is half the thrill of romance, it is often said, and our films would definitely have us believe that. Almost every star, including Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Vijay, and Ajith, have done films in which they pursue a woman and eventually win her. What if the other party says no though? In a role-reversal, the person being pursued in Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein is a man, Vikrant played by Tahir Raj Bhasin, and the pursuer, a passionate one at that, is Purva played by Aanchal. Tahir is already in love with a college mate, Shika portrayed by Shweta Tripathi, and the show digs into the dynamics of this love triangle. Anchal Singh

Here are Shweta Tripathi, Tahir Raj Bhasin and Aanchal, speaking of what they believe makes this show tick:

What compelled you to say yes to the roles of Shika and Purva, respectively?

Shweta Tripathi (ST): You know with all the dark, drama, heavy stuff that I have been doing, I wanted to explore love with Shika’s character. She is different from all the characters that I have played so far. It took me a while to understand and accept that somebody’s driving force in life can be love. I understood its strength, its colour, and how hard it is to put labels of right and wrong on it.  I think it should not be forced; it should be felt. This is what I love about Vikrant and Shika. 

Aanchal (A): I love how beautifully layered and complex Purva is. I love the similarity between Purva and Shika—about how both of them are madly in love with the same man. However, their manner of pursuit is different. It’s like two perspectives about the same thing. I also liked how Vikrant sees my character, and how it tells you a lot about her. 

Tahir, what’s it like to play the unusual role of a man who gets plenty of unwarranted romantic attention?

Tahir Raj Bhasin (TRB):  This is the first time that I am exploring romance, in fact. It is incredible to have two actresses — beautiful and talented — to play off. As for your question, I think there’s an added dynamic here: the woman who pursues me is the daughter of a powerful person. I found it interesting that the show speaks of how a man responds when a power structure tries to control him. I think it’s a metaphor.  

What’s it like to be at the end of unwanted interest? Uncomfortable. However, that’s what makes acting interesting. You pick scripts so far removed from your life that you get a chance to be in the most dramatic situations. This makes it entertaining and interesting for the audience to watch. 

How did you set about communicating Vikrant’s frustration and anger?

TRB: As actors, you tap into a moment, a feeling you have had, and sometimes not even had but seen. Depending on the circumstance, you then magnify it to suit the situation. What is incredibly interesting about Vikrant is how he’s an ordinary guy in an extraordinary circumstance. All he wants in life is to be together with Shika and to move to a small town, and to have his dream job, his dream house. Those dreams come tumbling down when a power structure interferes. 

As an actor, it was important for me to ask where his frustration comes from. To get to the root of that, I asked what was most important to me. Everyone has a tipping point. When someone fiddles with that, you move from frustration to anger to action. This was the exciting aspect of Vikrant for me as an actor. 

 

Shika gets desperate too. Shweta, how did you process this?

ST: All actors have different ways through which they approach characters and stories. I like to think and feel what the character is feeling. As Tahir said, we get to play and experience emotions which we would not in our life otherwise. That makes it all so exciting. 

Shika feels frustration because she loves this man and has envisioned her life with him. She has dreamt about everything, discussed every detail—from the puppy they would have to when they intend to have children— but then, the foundation gets shaken. What does she do? Is it his fault? She knows it’s not, which makes it more difficult. She can’t move on because he loves her, and she loves him. So, the idea is to try and hold on to that bond. However, when the family gets dragged in, Shika wonders if she’s being too selfish. It is all complicated and beautiful. 

Aanchal, what do you think drives Purva’s pursuit of Vikram?

A: I think she believes that everything is fair in love and war. If she is doing this in the name of love, then she thinks it’s justified. Though it can be uncomfortable if you are seeing it from the outside, but when you are in that moment, you may feel justified in your actions. I think there’s an innocence and even a childlike quality to her. Where she just goes, “Mujhe toh abhi pyaar chahiye bas apna. Mujhe aur kuchh bhi nahi dikhta hai!” This was the aspect I tried to tap into. 

Is there a duality here between innocent love and a need for possession? Does Vikrant see it like that?

TRB: There are two perspectives here, I think. Does Vikrant see a duality in Purva’s character? Absolutely not. I think consent is important, and that is a two-way street, no matter who we are talking about, guy or girl. 

As an individual though, if I look at it objectively from the outside, I do see a certain duality in the fact that it turns the table on passionate love. So often in cinema, the world over, we see a man passionately in love with a woman and going to the end of the world in order to do whatever he can to get her. But here, it is the woman. Certain section of the audience migh

t see that as overly romantic. The thing that gives it a very dark tinge here is that here it is not only Purva’s character that Vikrant and the audience are responding to. It is the power structure that backs her up as well. The consequence of his refusal make life complicated for Vikrant. This is where that duality gets mired in shades of grey. It’s fascinating, really.

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