Aaj Sajeya, a music video featuring Abu Dhabi-born Taha Shah Badussha and new Bollywood entrant, actress Alaya Furniturewalla, has received more than nine million views in less than five days.
The single, sung and composed by Goldie Sohel, is already being labelled as the wedding song of the season.
Directed by Punit Malhotra, the song shows Badussha and Furniturewalla, who goes by the name Alaya F, preparing for, and having fun at, their wedding.
Badussha, who made his Bollywood debut in 2011 with the film Luv Ka The End, has been working hard on numerous projects over the past 12 months. He can be seen in the second season of web series Bekaaboo, which kicked off on streaming platform AltBalaji last week. He's also starred in a short film, which will be unveiled soon, as well as a dance video number with Bollywood actress Daisy Shah, to be released soon, too.
"I have never sat idle and it's just a coincidence that these projects have bunched up," Badussha tells The National.
Also in the pipeline is an untitled indie film in Hollywood that is in post-production. The actor plays a piano prodigy who is disabled during the Cold War era in America. This will be his second indie film after Draupadi Unleashed, which was released in 2020.
The hardworking actor recently took time off in the US to brush up on his acting and dancing skills. He trained with acting coach Ivana Chubbuck, who counts Halle Berry among her students, and polished his moves at the popular Millennium Dance Complex in Los Angeles.
Badussha shows off those newly honed dancing skills in Aaj Sajeya, as Alaya clings on to her favourite pair of sneakers despite a mismatch with her traditional bridalwear. As groom-to-be, Badussha plays the supportive and loving fiance.
The recent flurry of releases on Badussha's resume brings promise after a decade of struggle in Mumbai's film industry. His career did not quite take off as expected after a brilliant start with two of the industry's biggest production houses, Yash Raj Films and Dharma Productions.
Nine months after landing in Mumbai after with his first acting course at New York Film Academy's Abu Dhabi campus, Badussha landed his debut role in Luv Ka The End alongside Shraddha Kapoor. His anti-hero presence got sidelined, however, as Kapoor, the daughter of actor Shakti Kapoor, known for playing villains, was showered with extra attention.
His second appearance, in Gippi in 2013, received positive reviews and he was even referred to as producer Karan Johar's newest prodigy. Industry stalwarts such as Ramesh Taurani, Rensil D'Silva and Nikhil Advani publicly envisioned a bright future for him.
"Taha has a strong screen presence that combines machismo and vulnerability," Johar said at the time. "I am sure he will have great innings at the movies."
Those innings have not quite panned out for the actor, however, as, from 2015 to 2017, he featured in just three films by famous directors, including the Johar-produced Baar Baar Dekho, but they all failed to do well at the box office.
But Badussha, 33, is the eternal optimist and believes his big break is due any time. He's undeterred by mitigating circumstances, such as children of famous Bollywood families being part of the projects he has been involved with.
"Like others, I have 24 hours and every minute of mine is accounted for. When I am not working, or even when I am, I train in the gym for at least two hours a day, do taekwondo, dance classes, read up a bit ... I don't go to parties. I sleep early so I can get up early. I do all I can with what I have in my hands."
His work ethic and commitment are undisputed, especially for the son of a father who's a doctor and mother who's an entrepreneur, and for someone who had to learn Hindi later in life.
He says when he does finally make it big in Bollywood, he'll turn his attention to the UAE, where he finished his higher education at The International School of Choueifat and American University in Sharjah.
"I have worked every day of my life in the past 10 to 11 years to earn my place here [in Bollywood]. But, in the future, when I turn director or producer, I would like to come there [the UAE] and create something of my own. I have heard a lot about the facilities there.
"Right now, I am just focused on my work here. That's all I can do. I truly believe that luck favours those who put their heart and soul into it. I feel I am due."