Taher Shabbir: I enjoy cooking malpuas during Ramzan

It’s the holy month of Ramzan and the bylanes of Bhendi Bazaar shine bright late into the night as Mumbaikars from all over the city drop by to savor the array of iftar delicacies on offer. Celebrities gorging on their favorite foods here is a common sight. But what isn’t that common is to find an actor on the other side, cooking up a storm for his guests! TV and film actors Taher Shabbirwho has been part of TV shows like Nisha Aur Uske Cousins, Bepannah and films like Naam Shabana, Manikarnika and Fan, is happily cooking malpuas in a large kadhai and serving them piping hot to customers.


(Taher checking the rabri at his shop)
He says, “When I am not acting in a project, I spend my evenings at my father’s shop, which was established in 1955. Ever since I was five-years-old, my father used to make us wait tables in our shop during Ramzan. So, it’s a tradition now to look after guests at the shop during this month. People have always been drawn to the color and energy of this narrow lane with its rows of sigdis and tawa-cooked food. I enjoy preparing malpuas with our staff and we serve them to our guests piping hot along with rabdi. My brother Moiyaad and I both learned how to cook malpuas from my father. Everything we do today is because of him.”


(Variety of phirnis at the shop)
Taher says, “The great midnight feasting vibe is a huge draw. People enjoy phirnis, kheer, tawa biryanis and several other delicacies on the menu.” The shop is often frequented by Bollywood stars. Taher added, “I remember Sanjay Dutt and Salman Khan enjoying phirnis at our shop. Dia Mirza and Neil Nitin Mukesh came last week to feast on the delicacies. My actor friends come late at night after 11 pm. They enjoy the food and some of them even like cooking malpuas with me.”


(Taher with Dia Mirza and his brother Moiyyad Shabbir)
Taher shares how the bylanes are overflowing with pedestrians on food trails. He says, “So many visitors hop on to two-wheelers and travel around the area. After my fast gets over, I come over to the shop and start working.”
On the work front, Taher shares that acting is his first love. He says, “Seven years ago, I was happy to be a part of Nisha Aur Uske Cousins, but I realized that the script changed on the basis of ratings. There’s nothing wrong with it because that’s how TV works. But it did not give me creative satisfaction. So, I decided to opt out and now if all goes well, I will be back on TV again. And I’m hoping that it will be better this time. I also did a web show and am hoping to land another interesting project soon.”

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