Tahir Raj Bhasin on 'Looop Lapeta': Thematically it is 'Run Lola Run', but the treatment is very 2022 Gen Z India

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#Aakash Bhatia, #Actor interview, #Bollywood, Looop Lapeta, Taapsee Pannu, #Taapsee Pannu interview, Tahir Raj Bhasin, #Tahir Raj Bhasin interview

Tahir Raj Bhasin as Satya in ‘Looop Lapeta’. (Image: Netflix)

In 1998 a German film about a redhead running in loops and running against a clock to save her boyfriend, sprinted into the best 100 films list and several awards nominations were heaped onto it. Franka Potente became synonymous with Lola in Tom Tykwer’s breakthrough film Run Lola Run. More than 20 years later, Taapsee Pannu laces up her running shoes to play Savi in Looop Lapeta. She, too, is running against the clock and stuck in a time loop, trying to save her boyfriend Satya (Tahir Raj Bhasin) from a messy fate.

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In video interviews, Bhasin and Pannu spoke about the Indianised adaptation directed by Aakash Bhatia, which has been streaming on Netflix since February 4, 2022.

Tahir, have you seen Run Lola Run?

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I saw it while I was in college and I was a big fan. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would be in the Indian adaptation. In the same breath, I was relieved that Looop is not a faithful remake or a redo, but an adaptation. For example, Satya is so unlike Manny. Also the romance has been amped up in the Hindi version. The relationship between Satya and Savi, what is at stake and why an Indian audience would feel their relationship is worth saving, on loop, is very different.

Also read: Looop Lapeta review: Frenzied tempo and visual fireworks, but nothing experimental about it

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How do you think audiences, especially those who have been fans of the original, will respond to the adaptation?

Tahir: Aakash and his team have achieved quite a task by taking on the remake of a cult classic. There are two challenges with this. Firstly, India is so culturally different from Germany. Something as simple as the colour palette is vastly different – it’s the muted tones and cityscape of Germany versus the colours you see in India. Secondly, 20 years have gone by and technology and people’s viewing habits have changed so much. Gen Z has a 15-second attention span so how do you keep the edit pace and camerawork matching up to that? Along with that the music, the way characters express love or even their lingo are meant to be of the times. So thematically it is Run Lola Run, but the treatment in terms of back stories, colours, vibe is very 2022 Gen Z India.

Taapsee, your character is a track athlete who is used to running on a fixed track. But this film has a message about breaking out of the loop. Do you connect with the concept of time loops?

In many ways in the last two years we have been caught in a Covid time loop. We try to start and get locked down and then try to get back into the groove, the cases start rising and we are back in a lockdown so it feels like a loop. So many people’s jobs feel like a loop – the same monotonous job all day, day in and day out. Personally, I never wanted to be in that loop. I decided not to pursue engineering further because I got scared of the idea of having a monotonous schedule. Even when I started acting, I started picking up films which are going to be very different for me in terms of the mood, feel and going on set. I am scared of going into a loop in life.

Tahir, you don’t actually have that many scenes with Taapsee.

Yes, and I find that a very interesting template. The only other film I can compare it to possibly is Mardaani. In that Rani Mukerji’s and my characters were parallel to each other. They meet at a certain point which is what the audience is waiting for. In a completely different genre, but it is similar to Savi and Satya. This is a high-energy, high-octane film but the moments between them, whether when they first meet or are having intimate conversations in their house, it sets the tone for why these two, who are actually chalk and cheese, have fallen so madly in love and that there is something there which is worth saving.

#Aakash Bhatia, #Actor interview, #Bollywood, Looop Lapeta, Taapsee Pannu, #Taapsee Pannu interview, Tahir Raj Bhasin, #Tahir Raj Bhasin interview

It’s no coincidence, is it, that the characters are named Savi and Satya?

Taapsee: That was my wow moment when I heard the script. I did a film called Game Over in 2019. It had just been released when I was approached for this. I said Game Over also has the concept of three times over and I don’t want to do something similar again. That’s not fun for me, as an actor. So I went into the narration ready to say no, but I was particularly bowled over by how it was Indianised. It seamlessly became an Indian hero and heroine story, though the heroine is saving the hero. That Indianised story layer made me stand up and pay attention, and after reading the script I said can we just make that the fulcrum of the story? From the experience of Game Over we learned that a lot of people could not submit to the idea of a world where things can happen again and again. Audiences wanted logic and justification for it. This is why I felt this script needed the fulcrum of the mythological connection.

Tahir, Satya is very different from Vikrant in Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein or Shankar from Ranjish Hi Sahi. What was your process for playing this slightly manic character?

Satya is unlike anything I have ever done. I have called 2022 the year of the romantic lead, but even in that romantic hero space he is just so out of the box. I have always played alpha male, strong characters and I was excited about playing someone who is so vulnerable, wears his heart on his sleeve and is childlike. He is a caricature without attempting to be one. He is not written for laughs, but his response to scenarios makes him endearing as well as flawed.

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