Taher Shabbir, the good-looking actor from television, film and web series, is playing the main lead in ALTBalaji's show Bekaaboo season 2. The actor calls the recent consolidation in the entertainment industry a terrible thing.
He said, "It is curtains if you mess with the wrong lot. This mess is inevitable, but then we are just small fry. First, the British ruled us, then in the nineties, Rupert Murdoch controlled all media assets in India. Now, global studios and streaming giants like Amazon dominate everything. By acquiring all the major actors, they also get the lion's share of the profits."
"Even desi powerhouses like Karan Johar are bringing all filmmaking elements in-house. For example, Dharma Productions has even started casting," adds Taher.
Talking about the rising power of desi over-the-top (OTT), with big B-towners making a digital splash, he says, "This is happening as there is more money on offer. A-listers will do OTT only if paid their box office worth. Otherwise why will Aamir Khan, who earns Rs 1,000 crore for Dangal at the box office, agree to come online for just Rs 200-300 crore."
"But the big-ticket crossover is yet to happen. For now, many films are directly releasing on OTT only due to pandemic restrictions. Over time, 50-60% of content will move from theatrical only to OTT as well," prophesizes Taher.
He further added, "The entry of big players like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video has changed the ball game. They bring in a tremendous amount of professionalism and clout. Their setups are also well-organised, with complete data on hand."
Shifting gears to Bekaaboo 2, Taher says, "My character Kiyan has come out of jail, promising revenge against Anaysha (Subha Rajput) and her sister Kashti (Priya Banerjee). In his mind, he feels wronged. Whatever little he might have erred, it was not a sufficient charge to ruin his life. I worked on my body language to reflect his incarceration. Kiyan is not dapper looking."
Since your character was an erotica writer in Bekaboo season 1, do you also have bold scenes in Bekaboo season 2? "I have none, while most other actors have. I was embarrassed when I saw Kiyan (Rajeev Siddharth was playing the character in Bekaboo 1) doing what he did. The creative told me not to follow any actor but do my own thing."
Taher, who got first noticed in the Star Plus show Nisha Aur Uske Cousins, says, "Tube actors have mastered the skill of mugging up pages of dialogue in a few minutes. No film star will be able to match this breakneck speed."
He adds, "However, I am not just a small screen actor. I started behind the camera, assisting film director Sudhir Mishra (on Khoya Khoya Chand and others). The only reason I said yes to TV was that Viraj Singh Rathore (Nisha Aur Uske Cousins character) was not your everyday daily soap character."
Since then, Taher has done films like Fan, Naam Shabana and Bypass Road.
"For me, the medium is irrelevant; my character's contribution to the narrative is my only concern. Looking ahead, I want to make a big cine splash with Karan Johar, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and yes, the top-ranking women directors like Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti. I love their vision."
"And last but not the least, I love Ekta Kapoor (producer of Bekaaboo), a great film producer who also gives the international platforms a run for their money, courtesy ALTBalaji," he concludes.