Tahir Raj Bhasin charts his prep to essay the role of sports champion in Chhichhore

“Chhichhore has been my toughest film so far,” begins Tahir Raj Bhasin, who knows the worth of a Nitesh Tiwari film on an actor’s resume. Thrilled as he is to have earned a place in the filmmaker’s campus caper, the actor acknowledges that it wasn’t an easy process to become Derek, one of the principal characters in the Sushant Singh Rajput and Shraddha Kapoor starrer. What made it all the more daunting was that the character is based on one of Tiwari’s closest friends from IIT Bombay.

“I had to become supremely fit to look the part of a college athlete,” explains Bhasin, informing that Derek was written as the star athlete who wins laurels for the college. “Along with acing different forms of sports, I also had to balance the emotional graph of my part. Combining the two drained me.”

Before he faced the camera, the actor undertook a four-month-long training to build the physical prowess of an athlete. Bhasin was required to pick up various sports, including football and volleyball. “It took me four months of gruelling training in different sports — athletics, football, kabaddi and volleyball — to slip into my role. I used to train for about four to five hours daily with national coaches. I was exhausted after each training session. But Nitesh Tiwari’s validation at the end of our shoot made it all worth the trouble.”

The most challenging sequence, he recounts, was the relay race where he was apparently required to compete with national-level runners. “I was told that I was running with the best in the country only after the shot was filmed,” laughs Bhasin, who has another promising film in the pipeline — the sports drama, ’83.

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