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Exclusive! Taaruk Raina, a gifted artist, discusses Mismatched, collaborating with Rishi Kapoor, and more!

Taaruk Raina juggled two roles in Mismatched season 2, he played one of the leads, Anmol Malhotra, and was also the writer, composer, and singer of its theme song. The actor has been receiving rave reviews for his grey character in Mismatched. Shedding light on his character, he says, “My character is not very likeable at the start but slowly grows on the viewers. What I liked about the character is that he does not ask for pity, even if the circumstances are dire. I liked how he is overcompensating for being worse than he is so that people don’t feel bad for him.” He informs us that in the second season, his character underwent a redemption arc. And that’s when fans started rooting for him. When it came to composing the song Kho gaye, he credits director Akarsh Khurana for taking a chance on him. “What excited me was that I was making a song for Dimple and Rishi. Though it was written for two fictional characters, it was about a lot of things that I’ve personally experienced,” he reveals.

Taaruk has been singing since he was six years old. He grew up listening to a lot of rock music, as well as rap, heavy metal, and ghazals. He used to sing in his school choir as well. He and Prit Kamani started the YouTube channel Jumbo Jutts, where they did comedic covers of various pop artists such as Ed Sheeran, Adele, Drake, and others. He’s also hosted shows on TV. From being a vocalist, he progressed to being a composer and a writer. “I was always into music but didn’t know what to do with it. It’s only when I came to Mumbai that I got a chance to pursue my passion professionally.” He was the lead character in the live-action Indian adaptation of Disney’s Aladdin, where he not only had to act in front of a live audience but sing the iconic numbers as well. “The Broadway musical was a massive learning experience because the training was intense as we had to match the New York standards,” he points out.

Aladdin gave him the confidence to audition for acting assignments, which led him to being Aditya Chopra’s assistant at Yash Raj. “I was in theatre then went on to be an assistant director with Aditya Chopra sir for a year and a half on Befikre. That was a massive learning experience. I had never been to a film set before. I went to the set of Nashe si chad gayi on day one, a massive set, and I was like, ‘This is how films are done? This is mad!’ They were the best people around, and I learnt so much from everyone,” he reflects.

A year and a half after auditioning for Mismatched, he got selected for Sharmaji Namkeen. He played Rishi Kapoor’s youngest son in the film and says he’s grateful that he got a chance to work with the legendary actor. Taaruk narrates that he was so much in awe of Rishi Kapoor that he completely forgot his lines in one of their scenes together. “He was so brilliant saying his lines that I had eyes only for his performance and forgot my own lines. He didn’t get angry or anything, and we were able to finish the scene smoothly the next time.” He says the veteran used to regale them with tales from an earlier era. “Hum ‘70s mein aise shoot karte the,” he used to say. ’80s mein yeh aaya, ’90s mein ye change hua. Listening to him was like browsing through film history.” Both Taaruk and Rishi Kapoor share an affinity for food, and the actor says their conversations were mostly about food. “He came to know I’d travelled to Europe. He’d ask me what I’d eaten there and would name exotic dishes from various European countries. Our film was also about food and hence it was a great topic of conversation.” Midway through the film, Rishi Kapoor sadly passed away. That’s when Paresh Rawal took over the role. Taaruk says he’s lucky to have learnt from two acting greats. While both had a distinct style, what impressed him the most was how they could switch on and off at will. “We’d be talking about something before the shot and they’d just go, do the scene, and come back to the conversation, as if nothing had happened.”

The actor-musician recently came out with his first solo independent single, Narazi. “It’s a song about love and reconciliation and the fragility of human feelings,” he explains. He wants to release more singles soon. “I have been consistently making music all the time, so this year my focus is actually on releasing that music. Hopefully, I’ll be able to drop enough songs to curate my own show,” Taaruk explains.

We must say that he appears to be pretty clear about what he wants out of life. He adds that he has some acting projects lined up as well but has been told not to talk about them. Says he, “Perhaps I’ll be able to tell you more the next time we talk.”

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