#CampusKeDin| Tahir Raj Bhasin: Imtiaz Ali and I connected over our Hindu College roots
Bunking classes to rehearse for Ibtida, the dramatics society, and taking friends to visit his father, an Indian Air Force office, at the base, are some of the memories that are still fresh in Tahir Raj Bhasin’s mind. The Chhichhore (2019) and Mardaani (2014) actor remembers making the most of each day at Hindu College, Delhi University; from where he graduated in Political Science (Hons) in 2006.
Do you still visit Hindu College when you come to Delhi?
I do visit North Campus on every odd trip I make to Delhi. Literally, going down memory lane has a distinct charm! The campus has changed in so many ways and in so many other ways it hasn’t . A drive to college always takes me back to 2006, which was a more carefree time of dreams and discoveries that in so many ways has shaped who I am today.
Which societies in college were you a part of?
I was a part of the dramatics (Ibtida) and choreography society. I learnt as much from these as I did in class. We used to be in rehearsals all the time, and very often bunked classes. I once told a professor that I couldn’t attend classes but I was in the library studying for a full week, only to have him walk into the college theatre on the eighth day and catch me at the rehearsal, where I had been the entire time! It sounds funny now, but at that time it was incredibly scary.
Does that mean you were a back bencher?
I was a total backbench-chiller in school, but transitioned to someone who was not just a backbencher but also up-to-date academically as I went through college. Attendance, during the time of my batch, started getting marked for internal assessment and this meant handling both extra curricular and academics side by side, to survive in college.
Any college romances that got talked about during those days?
Of course! I have romantic stories, but none that I can speak of in the papers (laughs)! College romances are the best, and when they happen with the backdrop of dramatics societies performing during college festival season... that’s the stuff movies are made of!
Where did you hang out with friends after classes and rehearsals?
My friends and I would hang out in college after class because the college grounds were where the rehearsals would happen most of the times. If not on campus, we were at the DSE (Delhi School of Economics) canteen, Kamla Nagar, Janpath or Connaught Place. Also, I took my friends to the airbase where my dad was posted. Watching my dad and the fighter pilots of his squadron take off in supersonic jets, as we sat at the side of the runway, was an incredibly special experience to share with friends at that time. We lived in pre-smartphone age and those areas prohibit photography... The best college moments are these memories that we carry with us.
A number of Hindu college alumni such as filmmaker Imtiaz Ali are part of the film industry. Have you bumped into any?
I met Imtiaz Ali at a social function, and we instantly connected to our Hindu College roots! He even gave me a college tie pin that he had from an alumni meet that he’d recently attended in Delhi. A lot of DU alumni, especially members of theatre societies moved to Mumbai, and it’s very special to have an unspoken bond that lasts years after we have passed out, regardless of whether one was from the same college or batch. Just the mention of DU has an instant flashback and connect.
Author tweets @anjuri